Russia's President Vladimir Putin is ready to talk tough to U.S. President Barack Obama on missile defence, Iran, Syria and other issues that divide the two countries when they meet on Monday on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Mexico.
The Russian leader is going to set forth “in a straightforward way” the Kremlin's stand on missile defence during his first face-to-face meeting with Mr. Obama after regaining presidency last month, said Mr. Putin's foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov.
“The American side is not prepared to give us foolproof guarantees that the missile defence system they are deploying in Europe will not target Russia,” said Mr. Ushakov. “Oral assurances are not enough.”
The Kremlin has no illusions that the issue can be resolved during the meeting, Mr. Putin's aide added.
“The Americans are in the midst of an election campaign when it's hard to take pivotal decisions.”
Mr. Putin will tell Mr. Obama that “unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iran that run against international law and affect third countries are unacceptable”, said Mr. Ushakov briefing Russian media ahead of Mr. Putin's departure for Mexico on Sunday.
“This is a matter of principle for us… If the sanctions hit Russian banks and companies, they will deal a blow to our bilateral relations and interaction on international issues,” he warned.
Mr. Putin is also going to caution Mr. Obama against slapping visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials allegedly responsible for the death in prison of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky more than two years ago.
On the day the Russian and American leaders meet in Mexico the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will vote on the so-called Magnitsky List draft law on sanctions against Russians allegedly involved in human rights violations.
Moscow's retaliatory steps “will be comprehensive, multi-vector and extremely severe” and will affect “the entire spectrum of Russian-American relations”, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned on Friday.