Wednesday, December 21, 2016

US Refutes Russian Claim of Broken Communication

The United States is denying claims made by a Russian spokesman that the two countries had all but frozen communication channels, saying both sides were still engaged.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Mir TV earlier Wednesday, that “almost every level of dialogue” had been severed with the United States.

But State Department spokesman John Kirby says Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had spoken by phone as late as Tuesday about the war in Syria.

“It is difficult to know exactly what is meant by this comment, but diplomatic engagement with Russia continues across a wide range of issues,” Kirby said in a statement. “That we have significant differences with Moscow on some of these issues is well known, but there has n’ot been a break in dialogue.”

The Associated Press reports in a separate interview with Mir TV, Peskov said the Kremlin expects President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration to take a “fresher and more constructive approach.” But Peskov warned of “excessive optimism,” since Washington would be unlikely to reverse such moves as the deployment of NATO’s forces near Russian borders.

On Tuesday, the White House expressed its commitment to implementing new economic sanctions on Russia.

In response, the Russian foreign ministry said it “regretted” the Obama administration’s decision to enact the sanctions.

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