Russia surprised by speculations over contacts with Trump’s team

Moscow, Nov 11 (IANS) Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has expressed surprise over media speculations about Moscow’s so-called contacts with US President-elect Donald Trump’s team.

Ryabkov noted on Thursday that Moscow has contacted Trump’s presidential campaign team members and will continue such “routine practice”, Xinhua news agency reported.

In an interview, Ryabkov said the contacts were “seemingly obvious things” made under “natural circumstances”.

He also accused the Western media of trying to look for ulterior motives behind Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulating Trump on winning the election.

The message of congratulations was sent according to “centuries-old diplomatic protocol and etiquette”, Ryabkov said.

Later, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova added that during the US election process, unofficial statements were made on Russia’s readiness for an improvement in interaction and relations with the American side.

Also on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin and the Trump have common ground in national and foreign policy principles.

Russia and the US have long been at odds over the Ukraine crisis, Syria, as well as other regional and international issues.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any intervention in the US election.