U.S.-Russia Relations Are in ‘Disgusting’ Condition, Medvedev Says

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Putin and Medvedev.

Photographer: Yekaterina Shtukina/AFP via Getty Images

Relations between Russia and the U.S. are in a “disgusting” condition despite President Donald Trump’s desire to improve them, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

The atmosphere in the relationship “is the worst in my memory,” going back to the time of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, Medvedev said Thursday in an interview with journalists broadcast on state television. While he found Trump well-intentioned and “willing to restore full ties” when they talked at a summit in Manila this month, the president is a victim of the Washington establishment’s hostility to Russia, Medvedev said.

Many of Trump’s policies “don’t really differ” from those of his predecessor Barack Obama amid a “wave of Russophobic hysteria” in the U.S. that leaves little hope for better ties, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Italian newspaper Libero, according to a transcript published Thursday on the ministry’s website. “The anti-Russian lobby in Washington is provoking ever more unfriendly actions in various areas, including widening unilateral sanctions.”

Russian frustration is mounting at the absence of a breakthrough in relations with the U.S. under Trump, who came to power in January promising a new era after tensions mounted during Obama’s administration. Instead, relations have soured further amid intensifying U.S. investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election campaign to help Trump win. The Kremlin and Trump have repeatedly denied the accusations.

North Korea

Lavrov criticized the Trump administration over North Korea on Thursday, saying the U.S. should make clear whether it’s seeking a “pretext to destroy” Kim Jong Un’s regime following Pyongyang’s latest missile test. U.S. plans for joint military exercises with South Korea next month and its calls for new sanctions to isolate North Korea seem designed to provoke Kim into further reckless acts, Lavrov told reporters at a Collective Security Treaty Organization summit in Minsk, Belarus, according to the RIA Novosti news service.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has no plans for phone calls in the near future with Trump or Chinese leader Xi Jinping to discuss North Korea, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Minsk, the Tass news service reported.

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