Trump offers condolences to Putin for deadly airliner crash

In this photo provided by the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, Emergency teams gathered for a morning briefing prior to their work at the scene of a AN-148 plane crash in Stepanovskoye village, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Domodedovo airport, Russia, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. Emergency teams combed the snowy fields outside Moscow on Monday, searching for debris from a crashed Russian airliner and the remains of the 71 people aboard it who died. The An-148 twin-engine regional jet bound for Orsk in the southern Urals went down minutes after taking off from Moscow's Domodedovo airport Sunday afternoon. All 65 passengers and 6 crew on board were killed. (Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with the finalists of the national contest of managers Leaders of Russia in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW — U.S. President Donald Trump offered his condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday for the plane crash outside Moscow that killed 71 people, the Kremlin and White House said.

The White House said Trump assured Putin that the United States is "standing by to assist Russian authorities in their investigation" into why a Russian airliner on a regional flight crashed Sunday, killing everyone on board.

The Kremlin said the two leaders also discussed some aspects of the Mideast peace process in the telephone conversation before Putin's meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow.

The White House said Trump repeated his belief that it is time to work toward a lasting peace agreement. The Palestinians have said they no longer consider the U.S. to be an honest peace broker after Trump announced his intention to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Trump and Putin last spoke in December, when Putin called Trump to thank him for a CIA tip that was said to have helped thwart bombings in St. Petersburg.

Putin repeatedly has said he hopes Trump can follow through on his campaign promises to improve relations with Russia and thinks pressure from Trump's opponents has gotten in the way.

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