Russia said it was in contact with President-elect Donald Trump’s team during the U.S. election campaign, despite repeated denials by the Republican candidate’s advisers that any links existed, UNIAN reports.
"There were contacts" before the election, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. The Russian embassy in the U.S. held talks with the Trump camp that “were on a sufficient, responsible level.”
"We continue this work of course," he said, without giving details of what the contacts were.
Russia regards it as a part of routine outreach during a campaign. Russian embassy staff met with members of Trump’s campaign, which is "normal practice", Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Bloomberg.
Democratic Party contender Hillary Clinton’s campaign refused similar requests for meetings, she said. Ryabkov said there was also “sporadic” contact with the Clinton team, though it was “not always productive,” he said.
Trump has said he’d welcome better ties with Russia, would be willing to cooperate with Putin to defeat Islamic State in Syria, and may even consider recognizing the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea.