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Russian Officials React to Abrupt Exit of Trump Adviser Bolton

John Bolton Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Russia is cautiously optimistic about the exit of U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, Russian media quoted the country's officials as saying on Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly fired Bolton amid disagreements with his hardline aide over how to handle foreign policy challenges such as North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and Russia.

Dmitry Novikov, the first deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma's committee on international affairs, called the move “positive news."

"Let's see who [Trump's new] appointment will be," Novikov was quoted by Interfax as saying Tuesday. "Perhaps a figure will come who will advocate a more moderate policy toward Russia."

"[Bolton] always opposed agreements on strategic stability and arms control, believing that they unnecessarily limit the U.S. and prevent them from demonstrating their superiority," Senator Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Federation Council's Committee on Foreign Affairs, said Tuesday. "I don’t know if Trump fired Bolton for this reason, but it’s for this reason that I’m definitely not going to grieve about his dismissal."

Valery Garbuzov, the deputy director of the Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies in Moscow, remarked that Bolton's two visits to Moscow during his tenure had "essentially zero" effectiveness in sparking constructive dialogue between the countries.

However, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov does not expect Moscow's ties with Washington to improve overnight, the state-run RIA news agency cited him as saying Wednesday. Ryabkov said that such staff reshuffles in the United States have not led to a normalization in relations in the past.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had little to say about Bolton's firing, describing it as an "internal affair" of the U.S. and adding that Moscow is not interfering in it.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

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