Russia says it has 'good, businesslike' relations with Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson

Rex Tillerson addressing the World Gas Conference in Paris on June 2, 2015.
Rex Tillerson addressing the World Gas Conference in Paris on June 2, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

Moscow (AFP) - The Kremlin on Tuesday (Dec 13) lauded the "good" ties between President Vladimir Putin and US President-elect Donald Trump's pick for secretary of state, ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson.

"Russian representatives - and not just the president - have good, businesslike relations with Tillerson. He is a very solid figure," Putin's top foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov told journalists.

He added that Tillerson was "very professional in his field".

Tillerson's nomination comes days after the CIA accused Russia of interfering in the US election in a bid to help Trump win, in a development that could complicate the CEO's confirmation hearings before the Senate.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meanwhile hailed Trump and Tillerson as "pragmatic".

"We hope that this pragmatism will be a good basis for building mutually beneficial relations both from the point of view of Russian-American relations and also for resolving international issues," RIA Novosti state news agency quoted Lavrov as saying at a press conference in Belgrade on Tuesday.

"We are ready to work with any partners who are interested in the development of relations with Russia on the basis of equality."


Tillerson, 64, has opposed sanctions on Russia and in 2013 was awarded Russia's Order of Friendship by Putin following several years of Exxon projects in the country.

Moscow has dismissed reports of a secret CIA assessment that Russia tried to tip the US election in Trump's favour by hacking US political institutions, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying Monday that these were "absolutely baseless allegations."

The Kremlin was propelled to the heart of American politics in July after Hillary Clinton's campaign blamed Russia for an embarrassing leak of emails from the Democratic National Committee.

Washington in October formally accused the Russian government of trying to "interfere" in the elections by hacking the Democrats, charges the Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed.

Russia's relations with the United States have fallen to a post-Cold War nadir over the conflict in Ukraine and stalled efforts to end the five-year Syrian war.