Cold War relations between the US and Russia threaten global security, says VTB president

U.S.-Russia relations have regressed to levels of hostility not seen since the Cold War era but improved relations under the new Trump administration will be crucial to ensuring global security, according to the chairman and president of Russia's VTB Bank.

The two countries have long-since had a volatile relationship but they have experienced increased division over recent years following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, which prompted the U.S. to impose sanctions on the country.

Russia holds no "foolish optimism" that these sanctions will be lifted by President Donald Trump anytime soon, Andrey Kostin told CNBC Friday, insisting that Russia has now adjusted to living with sanctions.

However, he said he remained optimistic that President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin could work together to counter other global threats.

"We are not actually now particularly emphasising the removal of sanctions. We've somehow adjusted. It's not good for Russia but we're somehow got used to living with them," said Kostin.

"More important is to start the dialogue on the key issues like disarmament, fighting terrorism and many other things," he added, saying that the recent hostility had caused U.S.-Russia relations to regress to the Cold War era.

"I don't think the relationship with the U.S. and Russia can get much worse – they almost reached the levels of the Cold War – so I think both sides will need to do something to come back to better relations."

Russia has been improving ties with regional powers with President Putin meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday and extending an invitation to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Kostin said. He added that the real opposition to improved relations between Washington and Moscow was due to U.S. domestic politics.

"The problem for Trump today is not with Russia but with domestic opposition.

"He needs more time to form his team and more time to formulate some basic policies regarding Russia."

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