“Russia is an important country. It is a military superpower. It has influence in the region and it has influence around the world,” outgoing President Obama said at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday.
“And in order for us to solve many big problems around the world, it is in our interest to work with Russia and obtain their cooperation,” he continued, though he did say there are “some significant differences in how Russia views the world and how we view the world.”
Obama also expressed hope that President-elect Donald Trump will find areas “where we can cooperate with Russia, where our values and interests align,” while urging him to follow his outgoing administration’s line.
Obama adopted a reserved tone when referring to Russia in his Berlin remarks, despite previously consistently accusing Moscow of pursuing “assertive” policies on issues like Syria and Ukraine. However, he did repeat allegations that Russia was behind recent cyber-attacks on the Democratic National Committee.
US intelligence officials have blamed Moscow for the hacks as well, while admitting that it would be very unlikely to find any proof. Russia has repeatedly dismissed the accusations as “nonsense.”