Donald Trump's recent meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin 'will help save human lives', according to the head of external relations for the Russian Orthodox Church.
Metropolitan Hilarion called the meeting between Trump and Putin on the sidelines of the G20 in Hamburg last week 'a road to the future' and praised the ceasefire in southern Syria that has apparently resulted from it.
'Any attempt to... meet face to face and discuss problems that had been discussed only in distance is a road to the future, which we have to follow. It is very good that the meeting was held, that two presidents looked each other in the eye and listened to each other. We see its immediate result - it is ceasefire in Syria. It is very serious as it will help save human lives,' he told the Church and the World program on Rossiya-24 television channel.
Bishop Hilarion further expressed hope that the meeting will help to develop joint initiatives between the two countries and be the start of a long term process which would result in better understanding between Russia and the US.
Trump has been surrounded by controversy over his relations with Putin's Russia, after US intelligence suggesting that Russia was involved in intervening in last year's US presidential contest.
Trump claimed last week that because he pursues American interests first, Putin would have preferred Hillary Clinton to have won the contest.
Trump told the veteran conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson: 'We are the most powerful country in the world and we are getting more and more powerful because I'm a big military person. As an example, if Hillary had won, our military would be decimated. That's why I say, why would he want me? Because from day one I wanted a strong military, he doesn't want to see that.'
Trump continued: 'He wants what's good for Russia and I want what's good for the United States. And I think in a case like Syria where we can get together, do a ceasefire, and there are many other cases where getting along can be a very positive thing, but always Putin is going to want Russia and Trump is going to want the United States and that's the way it is...There are many things that I do that are the exact opposite of what he [Putin] would want.'
However, Trump added that he got along 'very, very well' with Putin.