Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering a retaliatory response against Washington over fresh sanctions, the Kremlin said on April 16, but added that it was "good" that U.S. President Joe Biden was seeking dialogue with his Russian counterpart.
The statement by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov came a day after Biden announced new sanctions, blacklisted Russian companies, expelled Russian diplomats, and placed additional limits on U.S. banks operating in the Russian bond market.
The U.S. measures came in response to Moscow's alleged election interference, cyberattacks, and what Washington described as Russia's other "harmful" foreign activities. Russia denies the allegations.
"The principle of reciprocity for such matters has not been canceled, but everything will depend on the decisions made by the [Russian] head of state," Peskov told a news conference in Moscow.
Peskov did not say when Putin would decide on a response, though Russia's Foreign Ministry said on April 15 that it would come soon.
Biden on April 13 suggested he and Putin meet for a summit on neutral ground to discuss rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Then after announcing the new sanctions on Russia, Biden said they were a "measured and proportionate" response to Moscow's hostile actions, but that it was "time to de-escalate" tensions between Moscow and Washington.
In response, Peskov said it was "good" that Biden was seeking dialogue with his Russian counterpart.
"President Putin has spoken about the appropriateness of building relations, normalizing relations, and de-escalating relations," Peskov told reporters.
"He has repeatedly said that we are ready to develop our dialogue to the degree that our counterparts are ready for this," he said, but pointed to divergent views on sticking points between the two nations.
"Their views categorically do not coincide when it comes to creating mutually beneficial relations and taking each other's interests into account," Peskov said. He said the Kremlin was still considering the offer for a summit.