Vladimir Putin called on the United States on Wednesday to show respect for American democracy and to “respect the right of peaceful protest” after mass demonstrations against his rule in Moscow, the Kremlin press service said.
Officials of his government “assure Russia is ready to cooperate with the U.S. towards safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country,” the statement said. “They recommend in that regard the U.S. could observe the democratic standards, respect the right of peaceful protest and go towards normalization of the Russian-American ties.”
The statement comes as the Russian government has increasingly sought to counteract U.S. criticism of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election by alleging American meddling in Russia’s internal affairs.
On Wednesday, Russia’s Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov accused the United States of “surveillance and interference” in Russian political affairs. Antonov appeared to refer to the FBI raid on the home of a Russian former adviser to President Trump who has ties to the Russian political opposition.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators recently introduced a bill to punish Moscow by imposing economic sanctions for election interference and alleged rights abuses.
Putin’s call for good relations echoes comments by President Trump and others in his administration that have said Americans have the right to peaceful protest.
At least 40,000 people joined a rally in Moscow against Putin’s regime. Another demonstration is planned for Friday.