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Russia looks for positive signals in Trump's speech to Congress

Reuters

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's deputy foreign minister said on Tuesdays that relations with the United States were at their lowest ebb since the Cold War, but hoped they could improve under U.S. President Donald Trump.

Russia will analyze Trump's debut address to Congress later on Tuesday for signs of any change in the U.S. stance, Sergei Ryabkov told parliament in Moscow.

"It will be important to analyze those signals and approaches which will be a part of Trump's first appearance as the head of a superpower," the RIA news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying.

"It would be desirable to believe that changes in Washington will create a window of opportunity for an improvement of a dialogue between our countries."

In Washington, Trump's opponents accuse him of already getting too close to Moscow. A U.S. congressional committee is investigating contacts between Trump's election campaign and Russia to see if there were any inappropriate communications.

Relations between the two nuclear powers are strained over a number of issues, including Ukraine, the war in Syria, and relations with Iran.

Ryabkov said Russia had not discussed with Washington the sanctions imposed over the annexation of Crimea, but said it would be easier for to work with the United States on the Syria crisis if they were lifted.

"We did not discuss and we do not discuss criteria for the lifting of sanctions. Restrictions in a number of areas are of course affecting us, but no more than the damage they cause to American exports," the Itar TASS agency quoted Ryabkov as saying.

(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Polina Devitt and Robin Pomeroy)

 

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