Repairing U.S.-Russia Relations 'Now as Important as Ever' to Restore Global Economy, Kremlin's Sovereign Wealth Fund CEO Says

The head of Russia's sovereign wealth fund has called for Moscow and Washington, D.C., to mend relations in order to boost the global economy and overcome the turmoil wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, made the appeal while discussing the ongoing Saudi Arabia-Russia oil war with Reuters. The dispute has driven down the price of oil worldwide to historic lows, and combined with the coronavirus slowdown has buffeted the economies of oil producing nations.

"Efforts to restore relations between Russia and the United States are now as important as ever," Dmitriev told Reuters. "We will take all the efforts on our side and hope the United States will also understand that this is necessary."

President Vladimir Putin called on the international community to lift sanctions on Russia and other nations earlier this week, arguing that such a step would help the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Russia remains under a wide range of sanctions related to its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in 2014, and its subsequent support for separatist militias in eastern Ukraine who are still in conflict with Kiev.

Dmitriev also suggested that a new, enlarged agreement between the multinational OPEC oil cartel and Russia might be the key to resolving the oil price war.

"Joint actions by countries are needed to restore the economy," he told Reuters. "They are also possible in OPEC+ deal's framework. We are in contact with Saudi Arabia and a number of other countries

"Based on these contacts we see that if the number of OPEC+ members will increase and other countries will join there is a possibility of a joint agreement to balance oil markets."

Russia had been cooperating with OPEC as part of the OPEC+ agreement for three years until the price war erupted earlier this month. Faced with oversupply and falling demand due to the coronavirus slowdown, the Saudi-dominated OPEC decided to cap production to try and boost oil prices.

But Russia refused to comply. In retaliation, the Saudis upped production and flooded the market with oil, hoping to bleed Russian coffers by driving down prices.

Meanwhile, U.S. producers have also been suffering. Oil executives have been pressuring President Donald Trump and Washington lawmakers to wade into the Saudi-Russian dispute to try and stop a wave of bankruptcies among producers.

Trump has said he will intervene in the price war at "the appropriate time." The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the White House is considering bringing diplomatic pressure to bear on the Saudis, and perhaps even additional sanctions on Russia.

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This file photo shows a screen displaying the graph of the Dow industrial average after closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on March 18, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images/Getty