The United States declined Tuesday to comment on the prospect that Russian President Vladimir Putin might become the next prime minister after he steps down in March.
"The Russians are going to have to make a decision. There will be an election, and they'll have to take up whether or not this is the direction that they want to take their country," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
Meanwhile, Perino stressed cooperation with Russia on major issues.
"There's no doubt that we will continue to be allies with Russia. We will continue to work with them no matter what happens," Perino said.
Perino made the comments after Dmitry Medvedev, nominated as a candidate for next March's presidential election, proposed Putin as prime minister after he leaves the Kremlin, while vowing to maintain policy continuity.
Putin, who is barred by the constitution from a third consecutive term, said Monday he would support Medvedev to run for president. Medvedev is currently first deputy prime minister and backed by pro-Kremlin parties of United Russia, Fair Russia, and Agrarian and Civil Force as presidential candidate.
Given Putin's great popularity, his preferred successor is likely to win the election.