The Kremlin has said it expects the United States will keep trying to “contain” Russia after a summit of their leaders, and that it was important for the two powers to be pragmatic amid talk of new US sanctions.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s comments on Monday came a day after US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN that Washington was preparing more sanctions in relation to the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny.
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Peskov told reporters that Moscow was aware of possible impending US sanctions.
“The [Russian] president’s words about the constructive mood during the summit do not indicate that we have moved away from a sober assessment of our bilateral relations with the United States,” Peskov said.
“Pragmatism and sobriety are most important in these relations. And both suggest that the constructive, positive results of the summit absolutely do not indicate that the United States will abandon its policy of containing Russia.”
Putin praises Biden, but ties remain strained
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden met last Wednesday for a summit in Geneva that they both described as pragmatic rather than friendly.
While ties remain acutely strained, however, Putin lavished praise on his US counterpart as he returned to Moscow, describing Biden as a skilful professional.
“He doesn’t miss anything,” Putin said.
During their hours-long summit, the first between them since Biden took office in January, the two leaders pledged to have regular negotiations to try and lay the groundwork for future arms control agreements and to return their respective ambassadors to their posts.
The two countries were set to discuss “normalising” the work of their respective embassies, the foreign ministry said on Monday.
Russia’s ambassador to the United States, who had been out of Washington for months, returned on Sunday.
But a stark rift remains, with Washington saying it is concerned over Navalny, Russia’s military presence near Ukraine’s eastern border and alleged Russian cyberattacks on the US.
Navalny was flown to Germany in August last year after being poisoned with what German doctors said was the Soviet-era military-grade nerve agent Novichok.
Russian authorities have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.