Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he has “working” and “stable” relations with President Biden.
“In general, in my opinion, President Biden and I have rather stable working relations,” Putin said, according to the Russian news agency Tass. Putin pointed to the fact that US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is currently in Moscow for talks.
“She and her Russian colleagues are discussing our further contacts with President Biden,” he said. “So we currently have rather constructive relations with the current administration.”
Putin said he hoped the US and Russia would work towards normalization. “Mutual interests will undoubtedly lead to the normalization of our ties, and the American political establishment will stop speculating on the Russian-US relations to the detriment of their own interests,” he said.
Nuland met with Kremlin deputy chief of staff Dmitry Kozak on Wednesday. “We had a productive discussion with Dmitry Kozak about our shared interests, along with those of Ukraine, France, and Germany,” Nuland said after the meeting, according to the US embassy in Moscow.
On Tuesday, Nuland met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and discussed the diplomatic dispute between the two countries. Since the end of the Obama administration, the US has been expelling Russian diplomats and putting restrictions on Russia’s diplomatic facilities in the US. Russia has responded in kind, and the dispute has led to the shuttering of consulates.
Ryabkov said Russia offered a mutual lifting of all of the diplomatic restrictions, but it appeared the US was not interested. “I cannot say that we have achieved great progress. There is a risk of a further sharpening of tensions,” Ryabkov said after meeting with Nuland.
Sending Nuland doesn’t send the best diplomatic signal. A notorious Russia hawk, Nuland is best known for her role in orchestrating the 2014 coup in Ukraine. In order for her to make the trip to Moscow, Russia had to agree to lift sanctions on Nuland.