MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia admitted Thursday it had criticised a lot of US policy during President Barack Obama s administration but said it was not personal, insisting Washington was to blame for bad relations.
The comments from officials in Moscow came on the US leader s last full day in office before President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in Friday.
“It s true that during the period of the presidency of Mr. Obama our relations seriously worsened on all levels,” President Vladimir Putin s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“Over many years, the past decade, the US has repeatedly conducted rather unfriendly actions toward our country.”
US-Russia relations are considered to be at their lowest since the Cold War ended.
Peskov told reporters a US missile defence system in Europe and “aggressive behaviour by security services towards Russia” had played a part.
He also said US financing of organisations in Russia which “engaged in political activity” had deepened disagreements between the two powers.
Obama has also been a regular subject of racist attacks in Russia, including a pro-Kremlin lawmaker tweeting a collage juxtaposing the US leader with a banana. Peskov, however, said Russian officials had no policy of permitting such personal slurs.
“As for personal attacks, as far as I know, on the official level nobody allows this,” he said, stressing Moscow s “respect to a president of any foreign state especially the United States.”
But referencing the incoming change at the White House, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a briefing that Obama s second term “became a period of lost opportunities” and had “brought the rest of the world instability.”
“The departing team has knowingly ruined bilateral ties to the level of the Cold War,” she said. “We hope the new Donald Trump administration will exhibit wisdom.”
Despite US and Russia s top diplomats famously pressing the “reset” button to jump-start relations in 2009, during the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev, ties deteriorated sharply in subsequent years, particularly after Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012.
While he and ex-US president George W. Bush, who claimed to see the Russian leader s “soul” through his eyes, had a personal rapport, Putin and Obama did not and appeared awkward at face-to-face meetings.