“Sane people” in Washington arguing for common sense in relations with Moscow now find themselves in “a difficult position,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said, branding the recent mood in American political circles “mass hysteria.”
“We do understand how difficult it is for the people who try to stick to common sense amid the total, paranoid Russophobia,” Lavrov said in an interview with the Kurdish news agency Rudaw on Monday.
At the same time, Lavrov added, months of investigation have failed to produce a single fact that could prove Russia’s alleged meddling in American affairs.
“Sane people find themselves in a difficult position there,” the foreign minister said.
Lavrov, who served as the Russian envoy to the UN for 10 years, confessed he “could never imagine that US politicians may be exposed to this kind of mass hysteria,” referring to mounting allegations in the media fueled by various political sources that claim Russia may have helped Donald Trump win power by carrying out hacking during the 2016 US elections.
“I was in touch with many of them while working in New York, and I am quite surprised to see what is happening now,” Lavrov said.
However, he believes the media frenzy fanning speculation about the alleged Russian interference will run out of steam at some point, “just because not a single fact has yet been provided” to support the claims.
Lavrov also said the deplorable state of US-Russia relations is largely part of the legacy left by the Obama administration.
“We inherited a bulk of problems, ‘time bombs’ and simply undermining decisions from the Obama administration,” Lavrov said.
He added that those decisions had been made “in the period of agony when the outgoing administration …chose to do nasty things to undermine US-Russia relations in the first place.”
The interview was recorded before Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was questioned by the US Senate on his contacts with Russian officials.
Earlier on Monday, Kushner issued an 11-page statement insisting he only had four contacts with Russian representatives during the Trump presidential campaign, none of which was improper.
“I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government… I had no improper contacts.
I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector,” he said in a written statement before his meeting with the lawmakers.
He also commented on his meeting with Russian-American lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya back in June 2016, downplaying its importance.
Dubbing the meeting “a waste of time,” Kushner said the lawyer mainly discussed an adoption issue involving the two countries.