U.S. Senator Rand Paul delivered a letter from President Donald Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin during his trip to Moscow this week.
Paul, who led a U.S. delegation to Russia as part of the Trump administration’s effort to ease tensions with the ex-Cold War foe, said on Twitter Wednesday that the letter expressed a desire to increase cooperation.
“I was honored to deliver a letter from President Trump to President Vladimir Putin’s administration,” Paul write. “The letter emphasized the importance of further engagement in various areas including countering terrorism, enhancing legislative dialogue and resuming cultural exchanges.”
I was honored to deliver a letter from President Trump to President Vladimir Putin’s administration. The letter emphasized the importance of further engagement in various areas including countering terrorism, enhancing legislative dialogue and resuming cultural exchanges.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) August 8, 2018
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said the “letter of introduction” was provided by the president at the request of Paul.
“In the letter, the president mentioned topics of interest that Senator Paul wanted to discuss with President Putin,” Gidley said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Russia’s Interfax news agency as saying the government received the letter but had not yet looked it over.
The Kentucky senator first revealed his plan to visit Russia last month in an op-ed for Politico as the Trump-Putin summit took place in Helsinki.
“We will discuss trade, cultural exchanges and how to better work for peace and prosperity in the world,” Paul wrote. “I look forward to consulting with Trump between his visit and mine and to working with diplomats from both countries to have a successful trip and better relationships.”
Tensions between the two countries have remained high after U.S. intelligence agencies alleged Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
The Trump administration on Wednesday also announced it planned to issue new sanctions after accusing Russia of using a chemical weapon in an attempt to assassinate an ex-spy in Britain.