Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov speaks during the annual end-of-year news conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia. (Reuters)

Kremlin spokesman says ‘good’ that Biden, like Putin, seeks dialogue

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The Kremlin on Friday said it was “good” that US President Joe Biden was seeking dialogue with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, after Biden called for de-escalation.

Biden on Tuesday suggested he and Putin meet for a summit on neutral ground to discuss escalating tensions between Russia and US ally Ukraine, and on Thursday said that it was also “time to de-escalate” for Moscow and Washington.

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“President Putin has spoken about the appropriateness of building relations, normalizing relations and de-escalating relations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.

“He has repeatedly said that we are ready to develop our dialogue to the degree that our counterparts are ready for this,” he added.

“In this regard, it is indeed good that the points of view of the two heads of state coincide on this.”

He said that the Kremlin was still considering the offer for a Putin-Biden summit, as Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on Friday offered his country as a venue for the possible meeting.

Despite the call for cooling tensions, Washington on Thursday angered Moscow by imposing a new round of sanctions on Russia for alleged election interference and hacking, with the Kremlin saying that the penalties will not “help” the potential summit.

“The addiction for sanctions remains unacceptable,” Peskov said Friday.

Biden has promised to take a much firmer line on Moscow than his predecessor Donald Trump.

Last month Biden caused an uproar in Moscow after he agreed with a description of Putin as a “killer.”

The US president on Thursday described the new sanctions as a “measured and proportionate” response to Moscow’s hostile actions against Washington, but said the United States is “not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict.”

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