Relations between Moscow and Washington are at their lowest point since the end of Cold War, but there is hope in US President Donald Trump, a top Russian official said on Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov made the remarks while addressing lawmakers at Russia’s State Duma, the lower parliamentary chamber, Efe news reported.
“The current state of the links between Russia and the US, as we all know, leaves much to be desired,” said Ryabkov.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that our relations are at their lowest point in the post-Cold War period,” he stressed.
He told Russian lawmakers that former US President Barack Obama increased tensions and opted for confrontation with Russia long before the conflict in Ukraine.
The Obama administration drew up sanctions against Moscow for its alleged role in the pro-Russian insurgency that sprung up in Ukraine’s Russian borderlands following the 2014 ousting of President Viktor Yanukovich.
“The rate of total degradation in (US-Russian) relations quickly accelerated following the coup d’état in Kiev three years ago. In the White House, they opted for open confrontation,” he said.
Reiterating views already expressed by some of Russia’s top officials, including President Vladimir Putin, Ryabkov said he hoped that the arrival of Trump to the White House would create an opportunity to defrost Russian-American relations.
Any future discussions between the nations must be balanced and free of blackmail, he said.
Trump is due to address Congress later on Tuesday where he would expound the set-up of his new cabinet.
“It will be very important to analyse the signals and the approaches Trump takes in his first speech as leader of a superpower,” said Ryabkov.
Trump has previously expressed his willingness to normalise ties with Moscow.
However, his cabinet recently came under considerable scrutiny when leaked documents suggested some of its members had held discussions with Russian officials before Trump was inaugurated.
That scandal led to the involuntary resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who, according to the White House, failed to fully divulge to Vice President Mike Pence the contents of a telephone discussion he held with a Russian diplomat.