9/22/2017, "Russia Says ‘Small-Hearted’ Obama Administration Spoiled Ties," NY Times, Somini Sengupta, United Nations
"Russia’s top diplomat said Friday that the Obama administration had been “small-hearted” and vindictive toward his country, spoiling relations and jeopardizing cooperation on critical issues including the Syria conflict.
The remarks, by Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov, came during a news conference he held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
“U.S.-Russia relations are suffering not from the fact that there are conflicts but rather because the previous U.S. administration was small-hearted and they were revengeful,” Mr. Lavrov said. “They put this time bomb in U.S.-Russia relations. I didn’t expect that from a Nobel Peace Prize winner.”
Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for former President Barack Obama, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Mr. Lavrov was referring to the steep slide in relations between Washington and the Kremlin over a variety of issues, including the imposition of sanctions on Russia in connection with Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.
He said he had never bargained with his Western counterparts about the lifting of sanctions. He also dismissed allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 American presidential election to tilt the outcome in favor of Donald J. Trump instead of Hillary Clinton.
Even after a year of inquiries, Mr. Lavrov said, “we did not see a single fact.”
Mr. Lavrov said he had asked his American counterpart, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, for evidence of Russian meddling in the election and was told it was confidential.
Mr. Lavrov dismissed that contention as well.
“You know I cannot believe that,” he said. “Information is leaking all the time.”
Especially in an investigation that involves so many people, he went on, “it cannot be so that not a single fact is leaked. It would have been leaked.”
There are still large gaps between the Russian and American positions on a number of matters, from the question of what to do about Iran to how to handle the North Korean nuclear crisis.
On Iran, Mr. Lavrov said he agreed with European diplomats who this week rejected American demands to reopen the 2015 nuclear agreement. The deal has been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, Mr. Lavrov said, and if there are other concerns about Iran, such as its ballistic missiles program or its role in Syria, they should be addressed separately.
“Bringing together apples and oranges would be wrong, especially in such a complicated issue as the Iran nuke deal,” Mr. Lavrov said.
On North Korea, he said it was time to “calm down the hotheads” and consider offers of mediation, including one by Secretary General António Guterres of the United Nations. Mr. Lavrov advocated what he called a “reasonable” approach to resolving the standoff, “instead of kindergarten fights between children.”"
Putin praised Obama leading up to Nov. 2012 election, said Obama re-election would be better chance to resolve missile defense, that Romney would widen rift. Putin gushes that Obama is "an honest person who really wants to change much for the better"-Reuters, 9/6/2012
9/6/2012, "UPDATE 1-Russia's Putin defiant on Syria, says Romney "mistaken"," Reuters, Moscow
"Putin held out hope for an end to a dispute with Washington on missile defence if President Barack Obama were re-elected in November, telling Russia’s RT television he was “an honest person who really wants to change much for the better”.
Putin took aim at Obama’s Republican rival Mitt Romney, calling his criticism of Russia “mistaken” campaign rhetoric and suggesting a Romney presidency would widen the rift over the anti-missile shield the United States is deploying in Europe."...