MOSCOW: Russia on Thursday dismissed reports the Kremlin was “euphoric” about Donald Trump’s election win, saying it was not certain the US president-elect would be any friendlier to Moscow than his predecessor.
Deputy Foreign Sergei Ryabkov also confirmed that members of Trump’s inner circle had “kept in contact” with Russian officials during the election campaign, in apparent contradiction to remarks made by Trump’s own staff.
“We don’t have any euphoria” about a Trump presidency, Ryabkov was quoted by Interfax news agency saying, beating back the theory Moscow had actively supported the Republican who has been outspoken in his praise for Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“Positions he voiced, positions on Russia voiced by people in Trump’s campaign and in his circle, are rather harsh,” Ryabkov said.
“We have not seen any reason to depart from our assessment of the campaign that there was a bipartisan consensus in the United States that has an anti-Russian basis.”
“We don’t expect anything special from the new US administration,” Ryabkov added, saying Moscow did not give the impression of being “full of rosy hopes.”
Ryabkov’s cautionary tone marked a contrast with the enthusiastic reaction from Russian state media and Russian politicians.
Putin was notably among the first foreign leaders to congratulate Trump on his stunning upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton, saying he was ready to work together to rebuild bilateral ties, which have fallen to the lowest point since the Cold War.
The Russian leader has tacitly supported Trump during the campaign, leading US commentators to speculate on Trump’s private dealings with Moscow.
After an FBI investigation into possible Russia-Trump ties reportedly turned up no direct link, Trump’s staff denied any direct contact, according to media reports last week.
But Ryabkov said both sides were in touch in the run-up to Tuesday’s vote, without giving names.
“There were contacts,” he said. “I won’t say that everyone, but several (people in Trump’s circle) kept in contact with Russian representatives.”
Russia’s lawmakers broke into applause during Wednesday’s session of the State Duma upon learning that Clinton — frequently portrayed as particularly anti-Russian in the media — had been defeated.