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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Offered Clinton Assurances at Private Talks

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has offered assurances to former U.S. President Bill Clinton that Moscow and Washington could settle a dispute over missile defense and insisted that President Dmitry Medvedev is not his puppet, a news report said.

The previously undisclosed conversation took place during a private meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, according to a report that will be published in The New York Times Magazine this weekend.

Clinton attended a private party hosted by Putin at the Sheraton and was welcomed by Putin as "our good friend" and toasted with vodka shots, the report said, citing Clinton. The two later retired to a private room, where they talked deep into the night.

On U.S. missile defense plans, Clinton said Putin told him, "Oh, we're going to work it out now."

Russia opposes U.S. plans to install elements of a missile defense system in Central Europe and has made it a key issue in negotiations over a successor to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START I, which expires in December.

Putin also stressed that Medvedev, his handpicked successor as president, was not just a puppet.

The news report said it appeared that Putin was trying to send messages to the U.S. administration through Clinton, whose wife, Hillary Clinton, is secretary of state.