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Kremlin notes political will essential to ending sanctions and improving ties with US

Moscow believes that the new sanctions bill passed by the US Congress will become a law
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov  Valery Sharifulin/TASS
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, July 31. /TASS/. Normalizing Russian-US ties will require political will and Washington’s readiness to end its sanctions-based diktat and political schizophrenia, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media.

"A way out of this situation [in Russian-US relations] lies through the political will to mend relations," he said. Also, there must be rehabilitation from political schizophrenia, a declared intention to normalize these relations and an end to the diktat and sanctions, Peskov added.

He pointed out that despite the current situation President Vladimir Putin "emphasized our interest to go ahead with cooperation [with the US] there where it agrees with our interests."

Peskov said the Russian authorities had no intention of trying to find out if the blame for the latest measures should be placed on the current administration or the previous one.
"It is not our business to inquire into whether it was the current or previous administration that made decisions to impose sanctions. Of course, we would like these relations to be immune from such erosive processes or something else within the administration," Peskov said. "We are interested in the steady cultivation of our relations. At the moment we have to state with regret that we are far from that ideal."

Sanctions and US law 

Moscow believes that the new sanctions bill passed by Congress will become law. 

When asked why Moscow took measures against Washington before the US president signed the bill, Peskov said that after the US Congress had passed the bill, "it will de-facto automatically become a law even if the US president does not sign it." Besides, the Kremlin spokesman pointed to the White House statement saying that Trump could refuse to sign the bill in order to further toughen it.

"So there was no need to wait, things are pretty obvious," the Russian presidential spokesman concluded.

The US Congress earlier passed a bill slapping new unilateral sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. According to the White House, Trump intends to sign the document.

On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry suggested that by September 1, Washington will have to reduce the number of diplomatic and technical stuff at the US embassy in Moscow, as well as at the consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, in order to match the number of Russian staff working in the United States. It means that the total number of staff working in American diplomatic offices in Russia will decrease by one-third to 455. Should the US take fresh unilateral steps to cut Russian diplomatic staff, retaliatory measures will follow, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned.

Besides, from August 1, Russia is suspending the use of a US country house located in the Serebryany Bor area in north-west Moscow and a storage facility located in a southern neighborhood of the Russian capital.