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"Vladimir Putin stressed that the (Russia-US) relations are the most important factor for providing strategic stability and worldwide security", a Kremlin statement said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reassured his USA counterpart Donald Trump that Moscow remains "open to dialogue" despite the year ending without the hoped-for warming of relations, the Kremlin said on Sunday.

The tension between the two countries was reflected when Trump cancelled his meeting with Putin which was scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.

Washington this year made the bombshell announcement that it was pulling out of a key Cold War-era nuclear weapons agreement - the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.

Vladimir Putin sent New Year wishes to PM Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind.

Meanwhile, Putin expressed confidence in his address to South Korean President Moon Jae-in that the two countries will have closer interaction to help consolidate peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia in general.

The U.S. also expelled Russian diplomats and imposed a number of sanctions on Russian officials and entities following global backlash over the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal on British soil.

Mr Putin's message to Mr Assad "stressed that Russian Federation will continue to provide all-around assistance to the government and people of Syria in their fight against terrorism and efforts to protect state sovereignty and territorial integrity", according to the Kremlin summary.

Russian Federation and the USA have never seen eye-to-eye on several issues.

The Year of China-Russia Local Cooperation and Exchange programme proceeded smoothly in 2018, and the popular support for friendship from generation to generation between the two peoples has been further consolidated, the Chinese President said.