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CNN  — 

President Donald Trump said he will be speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

He said they are expected to talk about the oil fight between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

“Right after this call, I’m speaking to a gentleman named Vladimir Putin,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends.”

The two will be talking about energy, he said, “among other things,” saying that Russia and Saudi Arabia “both went crazy” about oil.

Trump said they would also be talking about trade.

The President has long maintained that improving relations between Washington and Moscow is essential, even as he insists that new sanctions on Russia make him tougher on the country than previous presidents.

Trump has also appeared to downplay or deny intelligence showing Russia sought to interfere on his behalf in the 2016 contest, saying he takes Putin at his word that he did not meddle.

Asked Monday what he would say if and when Putin asks him to lift sanctions, Trump said: “I’m the one that put the sanctions on … I’ve been tougher on Russia than any President in the history of our country. I put the sanctions on and they have a lot.”

Pressed on Russia’s misdeeds in Ukraine and the Middle East, Trump went on to say that Russia fought alongside the US in World War II.

Trump and Putin’s unusually-warm relationship has been the subject of intense scrutiny since Trump took office.

Trump has also repeatedly dismissed credible allegations that Putin uses violence against his opponents, saying in 2015: “I haven’t seen any evidence that he killed anybody, in terms of reporters.”

CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.