Russia's Putin would consider meeting Obama at U.N.

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

SEVASTOPOL, Crimea (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend next month’s U.N. General Assembly in New York and would “consider constructively” any request for a meeting there with President Barack Obama, Russia’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Relations between Russia and the West hit a post-Cold War low over Ukraine, where Moscow annexed Crimea from Kiev last year and where Washington and Brussels say it is driving a separatist pro-Russian revolt in the east.

But Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Kremlin would consider any request from the White House for a meeting between Putin and Obama at the United Nations.

Russia sides with the rebels but denies arming them, or sending its serving troops to fight on their behalf in east Ukraine. The West slapped sanctions on Russia over its role in the conflict.

Other disputes between Russia and the West include the conflict in Syria, human rights, security and defense as well as trade issues.

But Moscow and Washington were among six world powers that last month reached a deal with Iran on its nuclear program, a landmark agreement ending a decades-old international dispute.

Obama thanked Putin on the phone for his part in the Iran deal. The two last spoke face-to-face briefly in November, and Putin has paid no official visits to the United States since returning to the Kremlin for a third term in mid-2012.

Putin, a former spy who has been Russia’s paramount leader for more than 15 years, has mostly avoided traveling to the West since the United States and the European Union slapped sanctions on Russia over Ukraine last year.

Reporting by Denis Dyomkin; Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Ruth Pitchford