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29 Dec, 2017 16:13

‘It takes two to tango’: Kremlin on strained US-Russia relations

‘It takes two to tango’: Kremlin on strained US-Russia relations

The state of Russia-US relations can “definitely” be considered the biggest disappointment of 2017, the Kremlin spokesman has said. The US has failed to reciprocate Russia’s goodwill efforts, the official added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has continuously expressed Moscow's readiness to build mutually beneficial relations with the West, based on trust and respect, Dmitry Peskov told the media Friday. However, this approach hasn't been met with similar eagerness from the US, the official said. "Washington's position towards our country can cause nothing but regret," he commented, adding: "It takes two to tango."

The Minsk agreements on resolving the crisis in eastern Ukraine are of particular concern, the presidential press secretary said. Their implementation has been "pending," he pointed out, saying that Moscow's position on who clearly demonstrates a lack of willingness to finally settle the conflict "is well known."

Reached through talks with the participation of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France, and signed in 2015, the accord to resolve the conflict between Kiev and self-proclaimed republics of Lugansk and Donetsk included a package of measures. A ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons, exchange of prisoners, and special status for the Donbass regions with changes to the Ukrainian constitution were all envisaged in the documents. While some of the agreements have been fulfilled, Kiev has failed to honor certain commitments, bringing about a stalemate.

READ MORE: Kiev bill on Donbass reintegration is unacceptable, says Kremlin

Ties between Russia and the US have been on a downward spiral since 2014, in the wake of the situation in Ukraine. Since 2016, relations have worsened further, with Washington accusing Moscow of meddling in the US presidential elections. In 2017, the two nations exchanged a series of tit-for-tat steps that further strained bilateral relations.

In the summer, despite US President Donald Trump’s apparent intentions to build better relations with Moscow, and after months of contacts through various diplomatic channels that led to reassurances, Trump signed legislation that imposed new sanctions against Russia. The Kremlin has ordered the US State Department to limit the number of its embassy personnel in Russia, and in a matter of weeks Washington hit back with the closure of Russia's consulate in San Francisco.