Jan 12, 2020

Putin tells Assad he should invite Trump to Damascus

Putin and Assad hold a meeting in Damascus, Jan. 7. Photo: Alexey Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

During his surprise visit to Syria last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, to invite President Trump to Damascus, according to a video of a short conversation between the two leaders aired Sunday on Russia-1 television channel.

What's happening: The video shows the leaders speaking to each other during a visit to the Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in Damascus. Assad tells Putin about the apostle Paul who became a Christian at the gate of Damascus and adds jokingly: "If Trump arrives along this road, everything will become normal with him too."

  • Putin laughs and tells Assad: “It will be repaired … invite him. He will come.” Assad answers that he is ready to invite Trump, to which Putin responds, smiling: “I will tell him."

Go deeper: Read Axios' two-part special report on "20 Years of Putin"

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Russia's prime minister resigns as Putin prepares for transition

Medvedev (R) and Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his cabinet resigned Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin announced major changes to the structure of Russia's government.

Why it matters: This is part of a much wider shakeup. Putin is facing constitutional term limits that, unless amended, will force him to leave office in 2024. In his state of the nation address, Putin proposed a referendum that would shift more power to the prime minister and cabinet and away from any presidential successor.

Go deeperArrowJan 15, 2020

Putin aims to join the world's leaders for life

Russian President Vladimir Putin named Tax Service chief Mikhail Mishustin (right) as the new prime minister yesterday. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool via AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin, 67, has given the clearest signal yet of how he plans to navigate term limits and join China’s Xi Jinping, 66, as a possible leader for life.

Why it matters: Several of the world’s most powerful leaders have recently shifted the rules in order to keep power past normal transitions.

Go deeperArrowJan 16, 2020

Schiff: Putin should not be "thanking God" for Trump

Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) lamented during Thursday's portion of the Senate impeachment trial that Russian President Vladimir Putin should not be "thanking God" for President Trump.

Go deeperArrowJan 23, 2020