A top spokesman for Russian President Putin said Friday that the U.S.’s relationship with Moscow may be worse than during the Cold War.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, told ABC News that President Obama’s sanctions before leaving office and swirling allegations that Moscow interfered with the elections contributed to the relationship discord.
Peskov denied reports that Russia interfered with the elections. He said many Russians supported Trump’s presidency due to remarks he made during his campaign.
“The reasons is very simple,” he said. “It’s not about preferring someone. It’s about whose ideas are more close to you and whose ideas are more welcome in Russian public opinion.”
Trump has defended his staff from criticism about their relationships with Russian officials. His former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn as forced to resign in February after media reports showed he misled Vice President Pence about a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador during the transition period.
Flynn’s connections to Russia are being looked at by the FBI and form part of the Russia probe by the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Flynn’s attorney had said Thursday that the retired general is in discussions with the House and Senate intelligence committees, indicating he wants immunity from "unfair prosecution" in exchange for talking.
Meanwhile, Russian submarines have increased combat patrols to the level last seen during the Cold War, its navy chief said.
Adm. Vladimir Korolyov said that Russian submarine crews spent more than 3,000 days on patrol last year, matching the Soviet-era operational tempo.
“It’s an excellent level,” he said in remarks carried by state RIA Novosti news agency.
Peskov told ABC that he hopes relationships between the U.S. and Russia improve.
“I think if two presidents meet each other, if they exchange views and if they decide that they want to reestablish a dialogue, then there will be a chance for our bilateral relations to get better.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Edmund DeMarche is a news editor for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.