The arrival of Donald Trump to the White House opens the door to sanctions against Russia being eased, it’s been claimed.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the state-backed Russian Direct Investment Fund, made the claim at the World Economic Forum in Davos during a live debate hosted by Euronews.
He said: “We believe with the Trump administration it’s possible to start having discussions on the reduction of sanctions because we can do so much with the US together.
“Imagine a world where Russia and the US jointly fights terrorism.”
The US and EU were among those to impose sanctions on Russia after its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Dmitriev’s claim came as Igor Shuvalov, Russia’s first deputy prime minister, used the discussion to lavish praise on the incoming US president and talk up the potential of a good relationship with Vladimir Putin.
He said Russia’s lack of trade with the USA was not a problem for Moscow, but that if the countries improved co-operation on fighting terrorism that could lead to a better economic relationship.
“My hope is that Donald Trump, a superb professional entrepreneur, will become a professional president and in order to achieve results for global security he will agree with another great president, Putin, on how to solve the problem of Ukraine and other problems,” said Shuvalov. “But for results, one needs to communicate, to talk and negotiate and not push Russia into a corner. I hope this dialogue will happen.”
Progress on Minsk agreement needed
Miroslav Lajčák, Slovakia’s minister of foreign and European affairs, said EU sanctions would only be lifted if there was progress on the Minsk agreement.
The accord was signed in 2015 after talks between Putin, his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko, French president Francois Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Shuvalov said Russia had no influence on the Minsk agreement and that Ukraine must take some responsibility.
He added: “You have to ask all the signatories of the Minsk agreement as to why there’s been no progress. We are ready and willing to work.
“We should stop trying to scare each other off. Nobody will achieve anything through sanctions. We took our sovereign policy and will continue to do so. It’s impossible to make us change our course through sanctions, the sooner everybody understands that, the better for everyone.”