Kremlin Says Dialogue With U.S. 'Frozen;' No Quick Thaw Expected
December 22, 2016
The Kremlin's spokesman said that dialogue with the United States is currently "frozen" and that Moscow does not expect a quick thaw of ties when President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
"Almost every level of dialogue with the United States is frozen," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russia's Mir TV in remarks published on December 21. "We don't communicate with one another, or we do so minimally."
Peskov said the Kremlin does not expect Trump to quickly change two things that Russia has criticized: NATO's enlargement and stepped-up presence in eastern Europe, and sanctions imposed over Moscow's aggression in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on December 21 that the sanctions "divide states and prevent them from uniting their efforts in the fight against the common evil -- terrorism."
Trump has said he wants to improve ties with Russia and work with it to fight the Islamic State extremist group.
State Department John Kirby disputed Peskov's claim that communication is "frozen."
"Diplomatic engagement with Russia continues across a wide range of issues," Kirby said. "That we have significant differences with Moscow on some of these issues is well known, but there hasn't been a break in dialogue."
He noted that Secretary John Kerry just this week was briefed on Russia's Syria negotiations.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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