07:34 GMT07 March 2021
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    The official quipped that instead of engaging Russia in discussion on important issues, US officials are frantically trying to avoid Russia's in the tiny Swiss village, home to the ongoing World Economic Forum.

    Speaking to journalists at a panel discussion, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, whose portfolio includes the transport and energy sectors, stressed that Russia was always open to talks.

    "It's not Russia that's hiding from dialogue, and not Russia that's closed," he said. "The Americans are hiding from us at Davos; this is a small village, but they do not want to speak with us. They're hiding from a real discussion," he added.

    Commenting on perceived tensions over US sanctions against Moscow, the deputy prime minister hinted that there were other, more important issues worth discussing.

    "We're talking about the US sanctions, but these sanctions aren't the most interesting thing in the world; it's an insignificant issue; we shouldn't waste so much time on this; we just have to work better and more efficiently, instead of discussing sanctions," Dvorkovich said.

    At the same time, the official noted that it was obvious that the aim of US sanctions "isn't just to punish Russia or send a signal to Russia, but to [help the US] compete in Europe. The sanctions are definitely used to fulfill those tasks," he said.

    Finally, the deputy prime minister tackled a reporter's question about whether he had asked for a meeting with US President Donald Trump. "I'm not the Russian president. I'm not in a position to ask for a meeting with Trump, but I am ready to contact the representatives of the US delegation," Dvorkovich said.

    The US has introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russian businessmen, politicians, enterprises, and economic sectors over the crisis in Ukraine, including Crimea's reunification with Russia following the February 2014 Maidan coup d'état.

    The World Economic Forum, taking place at the Swiss Alpine resort town of Davos this week, started Tuesday and set to wrap up on Friday. This year, the Russian delegation at the forum is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Dvorkovich. On Thursday, the official Russian residence at Davos will host a meeting devoted to Russia-US bilateral relations with the support of the US-Russia Business Council. 


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