Russia’s former ambassador to Washington is again in the news after appearing in an interview with state-run broadcaster Russia 24 saying that he never discussed sanctions with his US counterparts.
Recently retired in July and back on home turf, Sergei Kislyak is now talking publicly for the first time about his interactions with U.S. officials. He stated that the main topic of his conversation with former US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was counter-terrorism. He emphasized that the talks were transparent and never touched upon sanctions.
Kislyak is still a key figure in ongoing U.S. investigations into Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Flynn was forced to resign in February after it became known that he had failed to disclose the content of conversations he had with Kislyak and misled U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence about their meetings.
“We only spoke about the most simple things… but the communication was completely correct, calm, absolutely transparent. In any case, there were no secrets on our side,” Kislyak said during a panel discussion on Russian television. “There are a number of issues which are important for cooperation between Russia and the United States – most of all, terrorism. And that was one of the things we discussed.”
He added he was sure that what they talked about was well known to “many other people in America”.
Despite tensions, Kislyak said he did not believe it was not appropriate to speak of a new Cold War between the US and Russia.
“[Ideology] is not the problem in our relationship,” he said. “The problem in our relationship is the Americans’ sense of absolute exceptionalism and their supposed right to tell everyone else what is good and what’s bad.”
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