MOSCOW, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Russia is prepared for dialogue with the United States' incoming presidential administration despite economic sanctions, a Kremlin spokesman said Tuesday.
"Sanctions are an element that very negatively affect bilateral relations, but still even under the backdrop of sanctions, Moscow would, undoubtedly, welcome any prospect for dialogue and it is ready for that," he said.
Peskov's comments came after President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the United States over allegations the Russian government meddled in the U.S. presidential election by hacking. He referred to the expulsions as "additional steps toward the artificial degradation of our relations."
Russian legislator Andrei Lugovoi, on another U.S. expulsion list for his alleged involvement in the 2006 poisoning and death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London, said Tuesday that Obama "is now rushing before handing over his prerogatives to harm and spite Russia in any way he can, and this has led to absurd things," the BBC said, citing the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday afternoon about the alleged Russian hacking of the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign. U.S. intelligence agencies, including the FBI, said in a report last week that hacking was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin to disrupt the campaign of Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton. Comey's testimony will be his first public comments on the issue since the election.