DW: Last August the US signed a bill into law called Countering America's Adversaries. It targets Russia together with North Korea and Iran. What is your assessment of President Donald Trump's policies toward Russia?
Victoria Nuland: On the one hand, the Trump administration — with strong pressure from the US Congress behind it — has maintained the sanctions that were put on Russia to incur costs for its incursion into Donbass, in Crimea, and also for its interference in the US election. I have to say that at the moment I don't see a comprehensive Russia policy from the Trump administration towards Moscow. Maybe this is the effect of Russia now being in an election period, but we have a lot of problems and difficulties — whether it's Syria or whether it's Afghanistan or whether it's with regard to nuclear problems and arms control — where we need to work together.
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The so-called Kremlin sanctions list took many experts by surprise as it appeared to be fairly random in terms of the criteria used to pick out the intended targets.
I don't have any insight particularly into how the administration came up with this list, but I think you know that they were under pressure from the US Congress because Congress is concerned that the president himself is not taking the interference in the US election process as seriously as he needs to. So they wanted a list. And unfortunately the list that we got looks more like the phone book from the Russian government and the Forbes Fortune 500 from Russia than it does a serious effort to pinpoint those who might be supporting these policies that negatively affect our security.
Read the full interview in Deutsche Welle.