‘It is impossible‘ for US-Russia relations to improve while sanctions are in place, Deripaska says

Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, a close confidant of Russian President , said on Sunday that Moscow and Washington are more interested in “muscle flexing” than improving their relationship.

Asked whether he has hopes of thawing tensions between Russia and the West while economic sanctions are in place, Deripaska replied: “The way I see it, from the U.S. side, it is impossible.”

“If you look at the reality, Russian people (and) American people, they don‘t hate each other,” he told CNBC‘s Geoff Cutmore during an exclusive interview in Moscow. “In the heart of the Russian people, I think there is room to go and start a new page but the problem is all of this muscle flexing from both sides.”

to lift the sanctions it placed on him last year as part of a wider retaliation for Russian interference in the U.S. election and what the Treasury described as its “malign activity around the globe.”