MOSCOW – The Kremlin hopes that Donald Trump’s administration will help improve the strained Russia-U.S. ties that it describes as “frozen,” but it doesn’t expect any immediate breakthroughs, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said Wednesday.
Dmitry Peskov told Mir TV that the Kremlin expects the new U.S. administration to take a “fresher and more constructive approach,” while cautioning against “excessive optimism.” He warned that Washington would be unlikely to reverse such moves as the deployment of NATO’s forces near Russian borders or quickly lift sanctions against Russia.
“We have never worn rose-colored glasses,” Peskov said. “We clearly understand that any U.S. president will first of all protect interests of his country. “
Peskov rejected the claims by Trump’s opponents that the U.S. president-elect is too Russia-friendly, saying that was a reflection what he called “Russophobia.”
“We don’t know yet what kind of president Trump will be and what position toward Russia he will take,” Peskov said, adding that the two nations should talk about their existing problems.
“If our partners show the readiness to conduct a dialogue to search for solutions and to take mutual concerns into account … it will mark a new approach,” Peskov added.
He rejected President Barack Obama’s accusations of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election, saying that Obama has repeatedly raised the issue with Putin but the Russian leader has strongly denied the claims.
“If such accusations are made, we have the right to demand an explanation, a proof and arguments. We haven’t been offered any of it,” he said.
Peskov said the U.S. election hacking allegations further dented the two nations’ already troubled relations.
“Dialogue with the United States has been frozen on practically all levels,” he said.
U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby responded by saying that the dialogue with Russia has continued despite their differences, stressing that “diplomatic engagement with Russia continues across a wide range of issues.”