US-Russia ties getting worse and worse, says Putin

MOSCOW • Russian President Vladimir Putin said ties between Moscow and Washington are getting worse, noting in an interview published yesterday that the US administration had imposed dozens of sanctions on Russia.

Mr Putin made his gloomy assessment ahead of a Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Japan later this month, at which he may meet US President Donald Trump.

US-Russia relations remain strained by everything from Syria to Ukraine, as well as allegations of Russian interference in US politics, which Moscow denies.

"They (our relations) are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse," Mr Putin told the Mir TV channel, according to a Kremlin transcript. "The current (US) administration has approved, in my opinion, several dozen decisions on sanctions against Russia in recent years."

The Russian leader contrasted Moscow's troubled relationship with Washington with what he described as its blossoming ties with Beijing, a deepening strategic friendship that has alarmed some US policymakers.

On Wednesday, Mr Trump told reporters that he would meet Mr Putin at the G-20, although the Kremlin had said a day earlier that the idea for the meeting was "hanging in the air".

Mr Trump said he hoped the US would have "a great relationship with Russia", but pledged to deploy 1,000 US troops to Poland, a step sought by Warsaw to deter potential aggression from Russia. Russian lawmakers yesterday said the move would force Moscow to take retaliatory steps.

 
 
 

Mr Trump also said on Wednesday that he was considering sanctions over Russia's Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project and warned Germany against being dependent on Russia for energy.

Mr Putin, who has spoken out in favour of China in its burgeoning trade war with the US, said in the same interview that he hoped for smoother ties with Washington despite the current trajectory of their relationship.

"We really hope that common sense will prevail in the end," said Mr Putin. "That with all of our partners, including our American partners... we can reach some decisions in the framework of the forthcoming G-20 that will be constructive and create the necessary stable conditions for economic cooperation."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2019, with the headline 'US-Russia ties getting worse and worse, says Putin'. Print Edition | Subscribe