‘Let us think this never happened’: Russian senator blasts US colleague over mafia comparison
“Let this weigh on his conscience. If he really thought so, why did not he say this in Moscow, as he visited the Federation Council and the State Duma? Here he was making compliments very generously and spoke about his respect towards our country and people. But as soon as he left… he immediately attempted to smear dirt on the nation that gave him such a warm welcome,” the deputy head of the upper house committee for international relations, Vladimir Djabarov, was quoted as saying by RBC.
The comment came shortly after the media quoted the US Republican senator, John Kennedy, as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot be trusted and that any deals with Russia are akin to “dealing with the mafia.” Kennedy made the comments as he spoke about last week’s visit to Moscow by a US congressional delegation ahead of the upcoming summit of the Russian and US presidents in Helsinki, Finland.
Senator Djabarov said it’s likely that, as a result of the comments, Russian lawmakers would never meet with Senator Kennedy again, but he also downplayed the mafia comparison as unimportant. “His statement does not carry any serious message. Let us just think that it never happened,” he said.
Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said on Tuesday that the Kremlin views Senator Kennedy’s position as a result of stereotypes that persist in the US, as well as the anti-Russia pressure constantly applied by certain parts of the US political establishment.
“We are not wearing pink glasses, we give ourselves a full account that the US political establishment is held hostage by stereotypes and tremendous internal anti-Russian pressure,” Peskov told reporters. The official also noted that the US senator’s words were difficult to understand without the particular context in which they were used.
Last week, the head of the Russian Upper House Committee for International Relations, Senator Konstantin Kosachev said that the recent visit of US Congressmen to Moscow had “thawed” the hitherto frozen parliamentary dialogue between the two nations. However, he noted that it would be unwise to expect any serious changes in Russia-US relations before the 2018 US midterm election, which could see 30 percent of the senators replaced.
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