Former Russian ambassador Kislyak denies discussing secrets or sanctions with Michael Flynn

Former Russian Ambassador in the United States Sergey Kislyak, who has just finished his mission, said he could see no connection between economic aspect of the newly imposed U.S. sanctions against Russia and the time period needed to issue USA visas to Russian citizens. Our US colleagues are starting to intimidate us by saying that because of our decision to reduce the US diplomatic presence to the level we have in the United States the situation with visas for Russian citizens will become more complicated ... Media reports said Flynn either misinformed US Vice President Michael Pence on his contacts with Russia's Ambassador in Washington Sergei Kislyak in December 2016 or failed to present comprehensive information about the talks. "First of all, terrorism, and it was one of the topics we were discussing", Kislyak said.

Kislyak, who completed his nine-year tour as ambassador to Washington in July, said in fact that he had clear instructions from Moscow not to talk about sanctions with the incoming Trump team.

"Any diplomat, whether Russian or not, works so as to understand better the policy of the country he is working in, so as to work out better what the new administration is coming with, so as to realize how and where to develop cooperation if possible", he emphasized.

But there are indications that Mueller's probe is spreading far beyond Russia's interference in the U.S. election to include Trump's financial records, which are unrelated to Russian Federation or the elections, as well as an examination of Flynn's financial dealings.

But Mr Kislyak described his conversations with Mr Flynn as "totally correct, calm and utterly transparent" and said they did not talk about sanctions. "There were no secrets, at least on our part". "It's partially their problem", Kislyak said.

"I didn't come here to testify", he told the Russian "Press Conference" panel.

"We don't comment on specific conversations", he said.

He remains a key figure in ongoing investigations into alleged meddling by Moscow in the USA election and this is the first time he has spoken publicly to the media since returning to Russian Federation. He also reiterated Russia's denial of election meddling, a claim widely-backed by the USA intelligence community.

  • Rogelio Becker