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Russia's Kislyak Denies Inappropriate Contacts With Trump Adviser

Former Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak
Former Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak

Former Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak has said that his discussions with former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn were "completely appropriate, calm, and absolutely transparent."

Speaking on Russian state television on August 5, Kislyak added that he would not be willing to testify about his contacts with Flynn before the U.S. Congress or a U.S. grand jury.

"We spoke about the most elementary things," Kislyak said. "There are several issues that are important for Russian relations with the United States -- first and foremost, terrorism. That was one of the topics we touched upon. On the whole, our interaction was absolutely proper, calm, and completely transparent. There have been no secrets [about it], certainly not on our part."

Flynn was forced to resign from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump after it came out that he had failed to reveal his contacts with Kislyak during the period between the November 2016 U.S. presidential election and Trump's inauguration in January.

Kislyak specifically said he had been instructed by Moscow not to discuss U.S. sanctions against Russia.

He added that he had made rebuffed attempts to establish contacts with the campaign of Trump's Democratic Party rival, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"I could give you a long list of people from Clinton's campaign I wanted to pay a visit to, but they all walked away from [my attempts]," he said.

Kislyak ended his tenure as ambassador last month.

The U.S. Justice Department and committees in both houses of Congress are investigating possibly illegal contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The U.S. intelligence community issued an assessment in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an "influence campaign" targeting the U.S. election, with goals that included undermining trust in the U.S. electoral process, denigrating Clinton, and helping Trump. Russia denies meddling, despite what critics say is strong evidence, and Trump denies any collusion.

With reporting by TASS, Interfax, and Reuters
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