Moscow sees progress in Russia-US relations

Moscow:  Russia has seen positive progress in its relations with the US and a desire to communicate from both sides, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday. "I think it is possible to say that there have been positive advances ... If we compare the atmosphere with what it was a year ago, then of course there is an evident desire to communicate," Peskov was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying. However, Peskov noted that there are "no illusions" that Washington would change its attitude toward Moscow in the short term. US Secretary of State John Kerry paid a two-day visit to Moscow this week. During his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the two sides reached some consensus on the Syria crisis, but bilateral relations are far from thawing so long as sanctions against Russia are not lifted. Kerry reiterated that anti-Russia sanctions will only be lifted when the Minsk agreement is fully implemented. The agreement, signed in the Belarusian capital city in February 2015 with the mediation of France and Germany, calls for a cease-fire along with a range of political, economic and social measures aimed at ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Lavrov said Russia stands ready to cooperate with the United States on an equal basis, warning of "counter-productivity of the trend to destabilize the foundation of Russian-American relations. "