Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister, offered hints he could support the United States on two key issues -- an arms pact and Iran -- after a meeting on Friday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
An aide to Putin said a major nuclear weapons reduction pact between Russia and the United States could be signed in April, and suggested Russia might back new sanctions on Iran despite misgivings, Russian news agencies reported.
Yuri Ushakov's remarks, which followed Putin's first meeting with Clinton since she became the top U.S. diplomat, were inconclusive and did not go beyond what other Russian officials -- including President Dmitry Medvedev -- have said.
However Putin, who steered his protege into the Kremlin in 2008 but is seen as the dominant partner in Russia's ruling tandem, has clouded prospects for cooperation on Iran and the arms deal with challenging statements in the past.
"Maybe in April," state-run RIA quoted Ushakov, Putin's deputy chief of staff, as saying when asked when Medvedev and President Barack Obama would sign a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 1), Reuters informs.
Vladimir Putin said on Friday that relations between Russia and the United States have become warmer, but urged fundamental changes.
"Putin and Clinton had an open talk," deputy government staff chief Yury Ushakov said following talks between Putin and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"Putin stressed that as a result of steps by the U.S. administration and both sides' reset policies, a more favorable atmosphere has been created in relations, but now the fundamental aspect of our bilateral cooperation needs to be decisively altered," he said, RIA Novosti reports.