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US-Russia ties cannot improve amid economic sanctions

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Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska

Deripaska told CNBC that both countries are prepared to spend trillions of dollars on defense despite that more than half of such an expenditure was likely to be “unnecessary.”

When asked whether the prospect of a change of president in the U.S. next year might present an opportunity for improved ties between Washington and Moscow, Deripsaka replied: “Are you serious?”

“Everything will be the same in four years,” he said. “Only a new generation will do something. This (generation) would prefer to have fighting.”

Russia’s economy tanked in 2014 in part thanks to U.S. sanctions enacted over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, and Russian officials regularly slam the latest slate of Treasury sanctions what they say is “anti-Russian hysteria” conjured up by the West.

Moscow and Washington have been on opposing sides of a number of international conflicts, including in Syria, Ukraine, Iran, and most recently Venezuela.

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Russia of “standing with its Venezuelan cronies” in order to “protect a Moscow-friendly regime.” His comments came shortly after the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions against Russian bank Evrofinance Mosnarbank for helping Venezuela’s state oil firm PDVSA dodge U.S. financial restrictions.

Both countries have now withdrawn from an 1987 international nuclear treaty, and Putin in December warned the threat of a nuclear war should not be discounted. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov insisted that Russia does not want an “arms race,” but was ready to respond to military threats if necessary.

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