The Kremlin said that a phone call between top US and Russian security officials earlier this week was part of preparations for discussions between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, the latest in a series of hints from Moscow that it wants a second meeting between the two leaders.
In a phone conversation on Wednesday, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan addressed cybersecurity, Ukraine, and the migration problem on the Belarus border, according to the Kremlin.
"This was all part of the preparation for high-level communication," Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, said.
Even as the list of problems between Moscow and Washington has grown longer, he has repeatedly floated the notion of a second Biden-Putin summit to follow up on their initial meeting in Geneva in June.
Last week, the US accused Russia of threatening Ukraine and performing a missile test in space that it claims caused debris that could threaten the International Space Station.
In the Black Sea, Russia has accused Washington of staging provocative warship manoeuvres. Despite these and other issues, high-level interactions have been maintained in recent weeks, including CIA Director William Burns' visit to Moscow.
The two presidents might meet in person in early 2022 and communicate through video conference before the end of this year.
Peskov also flatly denied media accusations that Russia was waging a "hybrid war" in Europe. "It is in Russia's interest that everyone in Europe comes to their senses and stops seeing Russia as the root of all their problems," he said.
Last week, the EU accused Russia's ally Belarus of carrying out a hybrid attack by sending waves of migrants toward its border with EU member Poland, a claim Belarus denies.