The Obama administration is pushing back at Russia’s assertion that relations between Washington and Moscow have essentially been “frozen” until President-elect Donald Trump takes over the White House next month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov made headlines Wednesday by claiming that “a dialogue with the United States has been frozen on practically all levels,” and that the Kremlin expects Mr. Trump to take a “fresher and more constructive approach.”

But Mr. Peskov, who made the remarks to Russia’s Mir TV, also cautioned against “excessive optimism,” according to The Associated Press, which reported on the development.

 The remark about relations being “frozen” appeared to trigger unease at the State Department, where spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday that, “I don’t know exactly what to make of that comment.”

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