Russian Federation relations 'maybe even worse' than Cold War

Putin wasn't bashful about telling the forum his opinions on why the American media, and US government officials, have become obsessed with tying the Trump administration with Russian influence.

Peskov was referring to the Obama administration's December 2016 sanctions against Russian Federation after intelligence agencies said the country tried to influence the 2016 election.

Finland is set to take the rotating leadership in the Arctic Council in May.

In an internationally televised panel discussion at the 4th International Arctic Forum (IAF) in Northern Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin had repeated his willingness to meet US President Donald Trump in Finland.

More than 2,400 delegates took part in the high-profile Arkhangelsk gathering, which focused on the prospects of developing the inhospitable region.

The first high-profile Russia-US meeting was held in mid-February, when Tillerson met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Bonn, although journalists were asked to leave when the US' top diplomat began speaking. Putin suggested that reports of Russian meddling in the 2016 election were "fictional, illusory provocations [and] lies", used to further "domestic American political agendas".

Peskov said that US-Russian relations were at their low, but Russia was ready for dialogue.

Allegations about the contacts have emerged as part of a broader investigation into what the US intelligence community has said was Russian-sponsored hacking of Democratic email accounts and subsequent leaks of information to undermine the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. "But we hope for the best and we are ready for the best", the Russian official added. "All that fake news ... read Mr. Putin's lips". AP has reported that the billionaire who runs Rusal, one of the largest aluminum companies in the world, allegedly paid a former Trump campaign chief to "benefit the Putin government".

But "in order for this work to be efficient, we need interaction not only with the Department of State, we also need interaction with the Central Intelligence Agency, we need interaction with the Pentagon".

Trump is expected to be among the leaders attending the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7 and 8.

  • Joanne Flowers