U.S. President Donald Trump says "it's possible" he will meet with Russian President Vladimir this summer and has pressed again for Moscow to be allowed to rejoin the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized countries.
Meeting with reporters on the White House lawn on June 15, Trump also blamed his predecessor, Barack Obama, for allowing Russia to seize Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula.
Russia was expelled from what was then the Group of 8 (G8) in 2014 over its military seizure of Crimea and backing of armed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Trump, on the eve of a G7 summit in Canada earlier this month, shocked allies when he said that member states "should let Russia come back in" to the elite group.
Trump told reporters on June 15 that Obama was at fault for allowing Russia's takeover of Crimea.
"Putin didn't respect President Obama...President Obama lost Crimea, just so you understand," he said.
"I think President Obama didn't like [Putin]....It's much better if we get along with [Russia] than if we don't," he added.
Trump's remarks on a possible meeting with Putin come after the Russian leader on June 10 said he would be happy to meet with Trump whenever the United States was ready to hold a summit.
Trump has long called for better ties with Moscow, though his administration has continued Obama's policy of targeting Russia with sanctions over Ukraine and other issues.
Democrats and many Republicans in the U.S. Congress have urged Trump to ratchet up pressure on Russia.