Russia says US signals desire to ease tensions

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign minister says that President Barack Obama's administration has signaled its desire to overcome the current strain in ties and focus on cooperation.

Russia-US relations took a nosedive recently with Washington announcing sanctions against Russian officials accused of rights violations and Russia retaliating by banning U.S. adoption of Russian children. On Friday, the U.S. released a list of 18 Russians targeted for sanctions and Moscow responded over the weekend with a list of 18 Americans.

Sergey Lavrov said after his meeting with Tom Donilon, Obama's national security adviser, that the U.S. administration had promised to work on solving these issues.

Donilon also met Monday in Moscow with Russia's President Vladimir Putin and handed him a letter from Obama. Putin's aide, Yuri Ushakov, said the letter was "quite constructive."