ARKHANGELSK, March 30./TASS/. Contacts of Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak with local politicians are restricted and are unreasonably given a hostile reception, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
In reply to queries about Russian-US relations at The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue International Forum in Arkhangelsk, Putin said US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft was among the audience, and was free to communicate with members of the Russian government, representatives of major Russian companies. "We are not preventing this, on the contrary - we encourage this and help," he said.
"While contacts of the Russian ambassador to the US [Sergey Kislyak] are limited, any of his meetings is given a hostile reception or is seen as some espionage move. Isn’t this nonsense? What is the ambassador for there? For communicating with people, maintaining contacts with the political elite, with business people, with members of the Congress and Senate, with members of the government, the administration - otherwise what for did he go there?" he asked.
"This is a global diplomatic practice," Putin stressed.
"For example now [in the US] the issue of meetings of our business people, bankers is raised [the US is actively discussing the situation around last year’s meeting of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner with the head of Russia’s Vnesheconombank Sergey Gorkov - TASS]," he went on.
"Don’t American business people come here, meet without our representatives here, including with the Russian government?" he asked. "Of course they communicate, how else are they expected to work?" he said.