MOSCOW â€” Suggestions by President-elect Donald Trump that sanctions against Russia could be lifted in exchange for a nuclear arms cut attracted a frosty reception in Moscow on Monday.
In an interview with the Times of London published on Sunday, Trump indicated that he could end sanctions imposed on Russia in the aftermath of the 2014 annexation of Crimea in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal.
Russia isn’t so anxious to get the sanctions lifted that it is prepared to “sacrifice something, especially in what concerns security,” said Konstantin Kosachev, the Kremlin-connected chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the upper house of parliament.
Kosachev also told the RIA Novosti news agency that Trump’s comments to the Times should be treated with caution because it wasn’t an official statement, since Trump hasn’t assumed office yet.
Washington, along with the European Union, has imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Russia and travel bans for individuals following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and interference in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The latest round of U.S. sanctions came at the end of December.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, sounded similarly cautious with reporters in Moscow later in the day.
“Let’s wait until he assumes office before we give assessment to any initiatives,” Peskov said. He added that Russia never raises the issue of sanctions in talks with its foreign counterparts and doesn’t intend to do so because it’s not up to Moscow to scrap them.
Another influential Russian lawmaker, Alexei Pushkov, in a tweet late Sunday laughed off warnings of the CIA director about challenges that will follow lifting the sanctions.
Speaking on Fox News, CIA Director John Brennan said on Sunday that in his opinion Trump doesn’t have “a full understanding of Russian capabilities and the actions they are taking on the world.”
Pushkov replied on Twitter: “There aren’t going to be any consequences.
“Except for their proponents getting a heart attack.”
Nataliya Vasilyeva, The Associated Press