The U.S. State Department pushed back against claims today from the Kremlin that diplomatic dialogue between the two countries has “frozen” almost entirely.
“I don’t know exactly what to make of that comment,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters today. “Obviously, we don’t agree and have issues with Russia on a variety of issues, but dialogue has not been broken.”
Russian news agencies quoted President Vladimir Putin‘s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, saying today that “a dialogue with the United States has been frozen on practically all levels.”
He also signaled that Putin maybe we waiting out the Obama administration, telling Mir TV that the Kremlin expects the new administration to have a “fresher and more constructive approach.”
Diplomatic relations with Russia have been at a post-Cold War level since Russia’s annexation of Crimea and have worsened during the conflict in Syria and its cyber-intrusions into U.S. political organizations.
Russia’s comment comes the day after foreign ministers from Turkey, Iran and Russia met in Moscow to discuss future plans for Syria without inviting the United States.
Kirby said today the U.S. doesn’t see it as a snub.
“I would push back on this idea that they’ve excluded us from Syria,” Kirby said. “Yes, we weren’t in the meeting in Moscow, but it’s not as if we haven’t had communication with them before and then right after that meeting. So, there’s been no exclusion of the United States with respect to the issue of Syria.”
In early October the White House officially called off bilateral talks with Russia over the Syria crisis. Nevertheless, Secretary of State John Kerry has since spoken with the Russian foreign minister on several occasions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.