Trump’s COVID Diagnosis Spooks Russia

Trump’s COVID Diagnosis Spooks Russia

The shocking announcement that the President of the United States Donald J. Trump has contracted the coronavirus was promptly followed by well-wishes from the Kremlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday sent President Trump a telegram, wishing a speedy recovery to the U.S. president and the first lady. According to a Kremlin readout of the telegram, Putin wrote: “I am sure that your inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with the dangerous virus.”

Overshadowed by the news of Trump’s positive test for COVID-19 was the fact that U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien met with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in Geneva. According to Russian state media outlet Vesti, O’Brien allegedly went along with Putin’s much-ridiculed proposal that the United States and Russia enter into a pact of mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. If such an agreement was in fact entertained, Moscow will undoubtedly interpret it to encompass Russia’s relations with its neighboring countries, including but not limited to the post-Soviet space, as well as the potential relief from the U.S. sanctions for Russia’s election interference, and the Kremlin being allowed to escape any consequences for the attempted poisoning of Alexei Navalny.

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