MOSCOW   -   President Vladimir Putin said relations between Moscow and Washington were getting worse and worse, noting in an interview published on Thursday that the current U.S. administration had imposed dozens of sanctions on Russia. Putin made his gloomy assessment ahead of a G20 summit in Japan later this month at which he might meet U.S. President Donald Trump.

U.S.-Russia ties remain strained by everything from Syria to Ukraine as well as allegations of Russian interference in U.S. politics, which Moscow denies. “They (our relations) are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse,” Putin told the Mir TV channel, according to a Kremlin transcript. “The current administration has approved, in my opinion, several dozen decisions on sanctions against Russia in recent years.”

The Russian leader contrasted Moscow’s troubled relationship with Washington with what he described as its blossoming ties with China, a deepening strategic friendship that has alarmed some U.S. policymakers.

Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he would meet Putin at the G20 in Japan, but the Kremlin said a day earlier that the idea for the meeting was “hanging in the air” and that there were no discussions on specifics yet.

Trump said on Wednesday he hoped the United States would have “a great relationship with Russia,” but pledged to deploy 1,000 U.S. troops to Poland, a step sought by Warsaw to deter potential aggression from Russia.

In another move certain to rankle with Moscow, Trump said on Wednesday he was considering sanctions over Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project and warned Germany against being dependent on Russia for energy.

Putin, who has spoken out in favour of China in its burgeoning trade war with the United States, said in the same interview that he hoped for smoother ties with Washington despite the current trajectory of their relationship.

 “...We really hope that common sense will prevail in the end,” said Putin. “That with all of our partners, including our American partners ... we can reach some decisions in the framework of the forthcoming G20 that will be constructive and create the necessary stable conditions for economic cooperation.” Meanwhile, the Kremlin said Thursday that the Russian military was closely tracking U.S. plans to beef up its forces in Poland and would ensure that any U.S. actions did not threaten Russia’s national security. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was responding to plans unveiled by U.S. President Donald Trump the previous day to deploy 1,000 extra U.S. troops in Poland as well as new surveillance drones, a step sought by Warsaw to deter potential aggression from Russia.

Russian lawmakers also said that a new U.S. military deployment to Poland announced by President Donald Trump would force Moscow to take retaliatory steps, with one saying it would make Poland a target in the event of a conflict.

Trump pledged to Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday that he would deploy 1,000 U.S. troops to Poland, a step sought by Warsaw to deter potential aggression from Russia.

Sergei Ryabkov, a Russian deputy foreign minister, was quoted by RIA news agency as saying that the move may reflect Washington’s “aggressive intentions”. Members of Russia’s parliament were quick to react to the plan, which also envisages the United States deploying military drones. “In the event of any conflict, God forbid, the territory of Poland would become a clear target for a retaliatory strike, if there was suddenly an attack on us,” Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy head of the upper house of parliament’s international affairs committee, told the Interfax news agency.

Another lawmaker, ex-commander of Russia’s special forces Vladimir Shamanov, who now runs the lower house of parliament’s defence committee, said he was concerned about the U.S. drones because of their potential to carry nuclear weapons.

“The world is gradually slipping towards a dangerous moment comparable to the Caribbean crisis,” Shamanov said, using the Russian expression for the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis - a standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

“... We will be forced to take retaliatory measures and we have them in our armoury,” Interfax cited him as saying.

The Russian parliament is not normally involved in the decision-making process on foreign affairs, except in situations where the Kremlin requests the upper house’s formal approval for a military operation.