President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he had spoken with newly reelected Russian President Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his win and also said the two will likely meet together in the near future.
"I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory, his electoral victory," Trump said later Tuesday. He added that the two leaders "will probably get together in the not-too-distant future" to discuss the international arms race.
Putin, whose win grants him another six years in office, has come under fire for the circumstances surrounding Russia's latest election:
His closest rival in the election, which was held Sunday, scored nearly 12 percent of the vote, while his most vocal opponent, Alexei Navalny, was barred from running in the race.
But the White House was not interested in commenting on whether Putin's reelection was the result of a legitimate democratic process.
"We're focused on our elections. We don't get to dictate how other countries operate," Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at Tuesday's White House press briefing. "What we do know is that Putin has been elected in their country."
Trump has been loath to criticize Putin or Russia, even in the face of his own intelligence agencies proclaiming that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and is likely to continue its effort during the 2018 midterms.