Trump Is Friendly Even If U.S. Ties Are Bad, Russian PM Says

(Bloomberg) -- Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he spoke with Donald Trump at a summit meeting, describing the U.S. president as “an open, friendly person” even amid heightened tensions between their countries.

With Trump “sitting practically next to me, we had the chance to talk” at a dinner in Manila to mark the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Medvedev said Tuesday, according to the Tass news service. “The bad thing is that despite the contacts, the opportunity to discuss some issues, our relations are degrading day after day. They’re at the lowest point in recent decades.”

The encounter on Sunday follows Russian frustration at Trump’s failure to have a formal meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam late last week. Putin blamed the lack of talks on “certain protocol formalities,” though the two leaders held brief conversations over the two days of international meetings.

Medvedev said Trump’s “easy to talk to about a variety of topics,” according to Tass. “We discussed the history of our relations with the United States, the Second World War and some other issues.”

However, the law passed in August tightening U.S. sanctions on Russia “means in effect that our relations will be derailed for decades,” Medvedev said.

The U.S. measures “won’t fundamentally hurt” Russia’s economy because it has already adapted to previous sanctions, the premier said. “The government has the necessary arsenal of solutions that can be used in case there are any surprises,” he said.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.