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Russian Diplomats Met With Trump, Clinton Teams During Campaign

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says Russian diplomats spoke with the teams of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the U.S. presidential election campaign.

Ryabkov said on November 10 that the talks involved diplomats from the Russian Embassy in the United States and "contacts" with influential people in Trump's circle.

"I don't say that all of them, but a whole array of them, supported contacts with Russian representatives," Ryabkov added, saying talks "were on a sufficient, responsible level" as "part of routine everyday work."

President-elect Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks said she was "not aware" of any meetings by Trump's campaign representatives and Russian diplomats.

Trump's relations with Russia became a contentious issue of the election after he praised President Vladimir Putin as a strong leader, and his call for Russian hackers to find and leak Clinton's e-mails.

Trump has said that he would welcome better ties with Russia and wants to cooperate with Putin to defeat Islamic State militants in Syria.

He also said he may consider recognizing the Kremlin’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

Ryabkov said contact with Clinton's team by Russian diplomats was "sporadic" and "not always productive."

Based on reporting by AP, Interfax, and Bloomberg

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