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Kremlin Hopes Huntsman, New U.S. Ambassador, Will Help Improve Ties


Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, attend a ceremony during which Putin receives diplomatic credentials from foreign ambassadors at the Kremlin on October 3.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman says the Kremlin hopes that the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, will help improve badly strained ties between Moscow and Washington.

"There is no doubt that we hope that with the new ambassador as its head...the American diplomatic mission in Moscow can make a weighty contribution to the restoration of our relations," spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on October 3.

Peskov spoke before a ceremony at which Huntsman and other new ambassadors were to present their diplomatic credentials to Putin.

Peskov blamed the United States for the severe troubles in the relationship, asserting that Putin believes closer cooperation is in the interests of both countries and the world but that "it is impossible to realize those intentions on our own, without a partner."

"So far, there are problems with reciprocity," he said.

Ties between Washington and Moscow have been frayed by deep discord over issues including Russia's aggression in Ukraine, its actions in Syria, and what the U.S. intelligence community says was a concerted campaign -- ordered by Putin -- of interference in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

At a confirmation hearing before a Senate panel on September 19, Huntsman said that there is "no question -- underline, no question -- that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election last year. And Moscow continues to meddle in the democratic processes of our friends and allies."

Russian officials initially voiced confidence that Trump’s election would help improve ties, but those hopes have been dampened as the U.S. Justice Department and congressional committees investigate Moscow’s alleged meddling and seek to determine whether associates of Trump colluded with Russia.

Putin denies that Russia meddled in the election despite what U.S. officials say is powerful evidence. Trump, who repeatedly indicated during the campaign that he wanted relations with Russia to improve, denies any collusion.

With reporting by TASS, Interfax, and Reuters
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