In the broadcast, Kislyak denied all claims of inappropriate dealings. “It was completely correct, and calm, absolutely transparent,” he said of his meeting with Flynn.“There were no secrets, not from our side in any case.”

He said the two men had discussed issues of mutual interest between the U.S. and Russia, including terrorism. But the lifting of U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia over its role in the Ukraine conflict and the annexation of Crimea had not been on the agenda, he said.

“I was instructed [by Moscow] not to discuss the issue of sanctions.” Kislyak insisted. “We don’t discuss sanctions with anyone. And be certain that I fulfilled by instructions faithfully.”

Kislyak, who was Russian ambassador to Washington from 2008 until July 2017, also denied Russian involvement in last year’s presidential elections, and said his country had been “fully prepared for either one [candidate] or the other.”

The Russian ambassador told Russian TV that he believes American antagonism towards Russia is a manifestation of the country losing its superpower status.

“I was amazed to hear CNN commentators talk about ethnic Russians in the U.S. as a category to be investigated,” he said. “When people go to those lengths, it means the country is psychologically ill.”