MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday in a July Fourth message to President Barack Obama that he hopes ties between the two countries will get back on track.
Relations between Moscow and Washington hit a post-Cold War low in 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and threw its weight behind separatists in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin, however, has recently sought rapprochement with the United States.
In the Independence Day message released by the Kremlin, Putin recalled the history of Russia-U.S. ties, saying that at one time the two countries were able to solve "the most difficult international problems to the benefit of both our nations and all humankind." Putin expressed hope that this experience will help the two countries get back to working together.
Elsewhere in Moscow, a youth wing of the ruling United Russia party staged an impromptu exhibit on a central square to condemn U.S. military involvement in other countries. The Young Guard activists put up easels with the portraits and quotes of former world leaders that the activists claim were toppled by the United States, like Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych or Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi.
"Under its current leadership, the United States has become a parasite state that attacks other countries under any pretext, violating their sovereignty, causing revolutions, using military force, killing civilians and their destroying statehood," activist Denis Davydov said. "We call on the United States on the Independence Day not only to preserve their own independence but also respect the independence of other countries."
Putin officially is not a United Russia member despite having canvassed for the party in the past. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has been recently announced as party leader for the upcoming parliamentary campaign.