"At the best moment, I think it was 2011 — out trade turnover was $40 billion. Then it was less than 1 percent of the US foreign trade. For us the United States… is also far from being a priority. Today its position has a bit improved, if I am not mistaken up to the sixth place, because [the positions of] everyone else have decreased because of an economic crisis and oil prices. But all these issues have not made the United States an important economic partner for us that has a significant influence on our development," Kislyak told the Russian Rossiya 24 broadcaster.
The diplomat added that the absence of strong economic ties resulted in absence of large groups of society that would be interested in maintenance of good relations between the two countries.
"You can vote on the anti-Russia laws, resolutions with impunity, because you do not have voters, who would put a pressure on you in order to make you work on maintenance of relations with Russia," the former ambassador said.
On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump signed a bill on new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. The new legislation targets Russian defense, intelligence, mining, shipping and railway industries, and restricts dealings with country’s banks and energy companies.