US President Barack Obama’s team damaging US-Russia ties: Kremlin

November 18, 2016 2:00 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and his foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov

A senior Russian official has accused US President Barack Obama’s administration of “doing everything” to damage US- ties beyond repair.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said the Obama administration was “doing everything it can to drive bilateral ties into such a deadlock that (it) would make it difficult for a new team to get them out from, if it wishes to do so.”
The outgoing Obama administration has had a cold relationship with the government of President Putin recently. To the contrary, incoming President Donald Trump, who won the ticket to the White House in the November 8 presidential election, has repeatedly praised Putin.
The American president-elect and Putin have already talked on the phone. The two discussed the importance of “normalizing” ties between Moscow and Washington in the phone conversation on Monday, according to a statement released by the .
Ushakov said both Putin and Trump have displayed a “shared desire to join efforts in the fight against terrorism,” which he said created a “good basis for future work on the Syrian problem.”
They acknowledged “the extremely unsatisfactory state of Russian-US relations at present” and “declared the need for active joint work to normalize them.”
The president-elect’s office also said in a statement that, “Trump noted to President Putin that he is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia.”
Obama has urged his successor to stand up to Russia when Moscow breaches “our values and international norms.”
Obama, who was in the German capital, Berlin, for his final foreign trip as president on Thursday, said that while he does not expect Trump to “follow exactly our blueprint or our approach,” he is hopeful that Trump will pursue constructive policies that defend democratic values and the rule of law.
During Obama’s presidency, relations between US and Russia plunged to the lowest point since the Cold War over conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
They support opposing sides in the Syrian conflict, which started in March 2011.
The US has been supporting “moderate” militants fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Trump has hinted he may end such military help. “We have no idea who these people are,” Trump has said, referring to the militants receiving US support.
Mikhail Bogdanov, a Russian deputy foreign minister, said on Thursday that Moscow had started communicating with Trump’s team the Syrian conflict.
Bogdanov expressed hope that the incoming US government would adopt a new approach to help resolve the crisis in Syria.
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