MOSCOW (Reuters) - A senior aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin is heading to the United States this week as Moscow's representative at the World Chess Championship, Interfax news agency cited the aide as saying.

Visits to the United States by senior Kremlin officials have been rare since Washington imposed sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine conflict two years ago.

The trip by Dmitry Peskov, who is Putin's press secretary and deputy head of the presidential administration, was announced on the day the U.S. presidential election was won by Donald Trump, who has promised to improve strained ties with the Kremlin.

But Interfax quoted Peskov as saying he was planning no contacts with U.S. officials during his trip and was not planning to pass on any message from Putin to Trump. Peskov is head of the board of trustees of the Russian Chess Federation.

The chess tournament is taking place in New York City, a few blocks from Trump Tower, where the president-elect has his office.

(writing by Denis Pinchuk; editing by Christian Lowe)