14:45 GMT12 May 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The deterioration of relations between Moscow and Washington will cost US citizens an additional $715 billion, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday, commenting on US President Joe Biden's proposal to increase the defense budget.

    Earlier in the day, the White House said in its initial budget request for discretionary spending that Biden had asked Congress to provide the Department of Defense with a $715 billion budget to, among other global security issues, deter Russia and China.

    "The White House has announced the price of Russophobia and Sinophobia. Breaking relations with Russia and China will cost American taxpayers an additional $715 billion. And this is given the US government debt, which rose to $26.9 trillion in September 2020," Zakharova posted to Facebook.

    The US leader's proposal came less than a month after US intelligence released a report alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin had authorized Kremlin "influence operations" to undermine the then-Democratic candidate Biden during the 2020 election and to exacerbate political divisions in the US.

    The Kremlin qualified the report as "absolutely groundless and unsubstantiated," expressing the belief this is a pretext for introducing new restrictions. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added that Russia did not interfere in the vote and had nothing to do with the campaigns against candidates. Washington's sanction policy could further aggravate bilateral relations, he noted.

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    Joe Biden, Maria Zakharova, Russia
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