Trump may scrap Russia sanctions
WASHINGTON - President-elect Donald Trump has hinted that he may lift sanctions on Russia.
Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Friday that he would keep intact "at least for a period of time" sanctions President Barack Obama's administration imposed on Russia last month over Moscow's alleged cyberattacks to influence the US election.
But, if Russia helps the US on key goals such as fighting violent extremists, Trump suggested he may scrap the punitive measures altogether.
He also said he was prepared to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin after taking office January 20.
Trump, who sees an opportunity to cooperate with Moscow in fighting jihadist groups like Islamic State, has expressed admiration for Putin, and only reluctantly accepted US intelligence's conclusion that Russian hackers acting on Putin's authority interfered in the US elections.
Russia's deputy foreign minister on Saturday declined to comment on reported calls between president-elect Donald Trump's incoming national security advisor and Moscow's ambassador to Washington.
Asked to comment on the reported calls, deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told RIA Novosti news agency that "we don't comment on daily working contacts of our embassy or foreign ministry representatives with colleagues from other countries, including the United States."
The Washington Post reported that Flynn telephoned Moscow's ambassador to Washington Sergei Kislyak, several times on December 28.
It said Kislyak extended an invitation for the incoming administration to attend peace talks on Syria to be hosted by Russia and Turkey in Kazakhstan, which are planned for January 23, three days after Trump's inauguration.
Trump's incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer, said the pair spoke by phone on December 28 about "the logistics of setting up a call with the president of Russia and the president-elect after he was sworn in, and they exchanged logistical information on how to initiate and schedule that call."
He added: "That was it. Plain and simple."
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday that invitations to attend the peace talks in Astana were likely to be sent out next week, with both Turkey and Russia agreeing that the United States should be involved.