Trump is not in the position to improve US-Russia relations: VTB Bank chairman

Russia’s second largest bank chairman told FOX Business that the worsening relationship between the U.S. and Moscow is more damaging than any imposed sanctions.

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“I don’t expect that within the next ten years this relations can become better,” VTB Bank Chairman and president Andrey Kostin said during an interview on “Countdown to the Closing Bell” on Thursday.

The U.S. government has imposed sanctions on Russia in response to the Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and meddling in America’s 2016 elections.   

Kostin notes that the old political elite in Washington has an anti-Russia sentiment that hurts the disarmament process and stability around the world.

“I don’t know if Mr. Trump would like to improve relations with Russia or not, but even if he does, he is not in the positon to do anything in this regard,” he said from the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The Trump administration has signaled withdrawing from the arms control agreement between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued Russia a 60-day ultimatum to come into compliance or the U.S. will leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF treaty signed in 1987 between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

“We are now on the verge of a break of major disarmament agreement between our two countries so the world is becoming more dangerous and I think that’s bad for both America and Russia,” Kostin said.

VTB Bank and its president are currently under U.S. sanctions, restricting the Russian bank from borrowing money and selling stocks.

“We have enough liquidity in Russia and we have enough profit now to increase out capitol,” Kostin said when asked how the bank adjusted to the sanctions.


Kostin returned to Davos after initially being disinvited by the World Economic Forum from last year.

“I think it was a little bit of misunderstanding or maybe too much attention paid to some compliance people,” he said. “I am glad that I am here back in Davos.”