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Putin calls for better relations in July 4 message to Obama

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has called for better relations with the US in a congratulatory message to President Barack Obama marking US Independence Day.

Relations between the two countries are at their lowest ebb in years, soured by disagreements over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria and by differences on human rights and democracy.

The Kremlin said: "The head of the Russian state expressed hope that ties between the two countries will develop successfully on the basis of pragmatism and equality despite difficulties and disagreements.

"Vladimir Putin also highlighted that Russia and the US, as countries carrying exceptional responsibility for safeguarding international stability and security, should co-operate not only in the interests of their own nations but also the whole world."

The US has curbed its co-operation with Russia and imposed sanctions on some Russian firms and individuals over Moscow's role in Ukraine following Russia's annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine.

Washington has also threatened to impose more sanctions on Russia over what it regards as Moscow's support for a separatist rebellion in east Ukraine.

Moscow denies orchestrating the uprising and accuses Washington of trying to contain its former Cold War enemy to try to continue US hegemony.

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