Russia says US signals desire to ease tensions

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's foreign minister says that President Barack Obama's administration has signalled its desire to overcome the current strain in ties and focus on cooperation.

Russia-US relations took a nosedive recently with Washington announcing sanctions against Russian officials accused of rights violations and Russia retaliating by banning US adoption of Russian children. On Friday, the US released a list of 18 Russians targeted for sanctions and Moscow responded over the weekend with a list of 18 Americans.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said after his meeting with Mr Tom Donilon, Mr Obama's national security adviser, that the US administration had promised to work on solving these issues.

Mr Donilon also met Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Moscow and handed him a letter from Mr Obama. Mr Putin's aide, Mr Yuri Ushakov, said the letter was "quite constructive".