G20 Summit: Britain, Russia hope to improve strained relations - Reuters

13:03 Sep. 4, 2016

Britain, Russia hope to improve strained relations - Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with British Prime Minister Theresa May during a bilateral meeting in Hangzhou, China, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016 (AP Photo)

Biritish PM Theresa May and Russian President Putin hold meeting at G20 Summit in China

Britain and Russia said on Sunday they hope to improve their relations through dialogue following the first meeting between new British Prime Minister Theresa May and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Read also: UK will not compromise on sovereignty of Ukraine - Foreign Secretary

May said she hoped for an open dialogue with Russia even though the two countries have serious differences, speaking at the start of a meeting with Putin on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Hangzhou city in China.

'While I recognise there will be some differences between us, there are some complex and serious areas of concern and issues to discuss, I hope we will be able to have a frank and open relationship and dialogue,' May said.

Putin, in apparent reference to Britain's decision to leave the European Union, told May that "everyone understands that you and your team are facing difficult challenges".

Read also: UK's position on sanctions against Russia remains unchanged - Theresa May

'We wish you success and hope that we will be able to bring our bilateral relations to a higher level than they are at today,' he said.

Relations between London and Moscow have been strained by differences over Ukraine and Syria in addition to Britain's complaint that flights by long-range Russian bombers near British air space have increased.

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