U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin's budding relationship has been stifled by those who "cannot make peace" with the former's victory in the 2016 American election, according to Russia's deputy foreign minister.
Sergey Ryabkov told pro-government newspaper Izvestia: "I would not say that relations are in a worse crisis than at the time of the Barack Obama administration's exit but genuinely relations continue with great effort. Largely we have not attained the needed dynamic for improvement."
Since Trump took office in January 2017, the U.S. and Russia have been on opposing sides over the conflict in Syria, with the U.S. bombing an airfield of the Russian-allied Syrian regime and then downing a Syrian jet. And despite reports that Trump has toyed with lifting U.S. sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, the White House is yet to do so.
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But Ryabkov laid the blame for strained U.S.-Russia relations firmly at the door of Trump's critics.
"There are very serious and influential circles who, to this day, cannot make peace with Donald Trump's election victory and they are using relations in Moscow for an internal political contest," he said.