Russia on Wednesday said that almost all communication channels with the United States were “frozen”, a claim Washington disputed. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said “almost every level of dialogue” between the two countries had ceased, with only the most minimal communication taking place, Reuters reported.
Peskov further said that Russia did not expect the incoming Donald Trump-led administration in the US to reject expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance. Moscow has said that it will take appropriate countermeasures if the military alliance is expanded.
However, US State Department spokesperson John Kirby rejected Peskov’s claims. “I don’t know exactly what to make of that comment,” Kirby said, according to AFP. “Obviously, we don’t agree and have issues with Russia on a variety of issues, but dialogue has not been broken.” Later, US Pentagon officials said that army officers from both countries held a video conference on the situation in Syria.
Tensions between the two nations have grown in recent months because of issues such as the civil war in Syria and the cyber attack on the Democratic Party’s National Committee. In Syria, while Moscow supports the Bashar al-Assad government, Washington has backed rebel groups fighting Assad’s forces.
The US has also accused Russian hackers of compromising computers used by Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s campaign handlers had alleged that the cyber attack was an attempt by Moscow to influence the result of the country’s elections in November, which Clinton’s rival Donald Trump won. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied the accusations.