Economic diplomacy should be embraced regardless of political problems, the head of Russia's investment fund told CNBC on Saturday, discussing the current economic sanctions on the country by the U.S. and European Union.
Speaking from the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), lamented the current political impasse between Russia and the U.S. and called on the latter to "separate business from politics."
"I think we've got to think about the way to move things forward. For example, the European Union was founded on the principle that economic ties prevent wars and conflict," Dmitriev said. "And I think U.S.-Russia economic ties have to improve, and that dialogue is very important. Because we cannot get stuck without a solution, we need a solution."
The comments come amid the highest tensions the two countries have seen since the Cold War. On Thursday, the White House directly blamed Russia's military for the July 2017 cyber attack known as NotPetya, which hit more than 64 countries and cost companies billions of dollars. And on Friday, the Department of Justice indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for interference in the 2016 presidential election. A separate investigation is examining whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians, which Trump denies.
RDIF is the $10 billion sovereign wealth fund created by Russia's government to co-invest in the Russian economy alongside other countries. Dmitriev was made chief of the fund in 2011 to improve foreign investment flows and investor confidence in the country, particularly among Westerners.