Washington: US President Donald Trump on Sunday backtracked on his push for a cyber security unit with Russia, tweeting that he did not think it could happen, only hours after promoting it following his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't," Trump said on Twitter. He then noted that an agreement with Russia for a ceasefire in Syria "can & did" happen.
Trump had tweeted that he discussed forming a cyber security unit to guard against election hacking with Russian President Vladimir Putin following their talks at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
Tweeting after his first meeting with Putin on Friday, Trump said now was the time to work constructively with Moscow, pointing to a ceasefire deal in southwest Syria that came into effect on Sunday.
"Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded and safe," he said.
Trump said he had raised allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election with Putin.
He added: "We negotiated a ceasefire in parts of Syria which will save lives. Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!"
Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida immediately criticized the move on Twitter, saying Putin was not a trusted partner.
Partnering with Putin on a "Cyber Security Unit" is akin to partnering with (Syrian President Bashar al) Assad on a "Chemical Weapons Unit," he wrote.
Investigations by a special counsel, Robert Mueller, and several U.S. congressional committees are looking into whether Russia interfered in the election and colluded with Trump's campaign.
Those probes are focused almost exclusively on Moscow’s actions, lawmakers and intelligence officials say, and no evidence has surfaced publicly implicating other countries.
Moscow has denied any interference, and Trump says his campaign did not collude with Russia.