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      officials hope the new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will work to improve relations between the two countries despite the resignation of Michael Flynn, the national security advisor.
     Flynn resigned Monday night following reports that he had not told the truth about his contacts with officials. In his resignation letter, Flynn admitted that he had given "; about his phone conversations with Sergey Kislyak,'s ambassador to the United States.
     Last week, the Washington Post and New York Times newspapers reported that Flynn had talked with the ambassador about economic restrictions, or sanctions, that the Obama administration had placed on. The Trump administration had earlier denied that Flynn had done so.
     Relations between the two countries worsened afterannexed Crimea and began to support separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine in 2014. The United States answered those moves with economic sanctions and bans on visas for some officials.
     Flynn was often seen as President Trump's key contact with Moscow. In 2015, he was paid by to attend a dinner for Today, a state-funded television network. He sat next to President Vladimir Putin during the event.
      reactions to Flynn's resignation
     The Associated Press news agency reported the criticisms of Konstantin Kosachev, a member of's parliament. Kosachev said on Facebook that removing a national security adviser for his contacts with is " but something even worse."
     But later in the day, officials were less critical.
      of the lower chamber of parliament. Soon after Flynn's resignation he said it was a "negative signal" for relations between the United States and. But later he said it "cannot fundamentally influence-U.S. ties."
     Dmitry Peskov is a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin. The Associated Press asked him if still hopes that relations with the United States will improve. He said it is "too early to say" since "Trump's team has not been shaped yet."
     Alexei Makarkin is an analyst at the Moscow-based Center for Political Technologies. He said Tillerson would be negotiating with, not Flynn.
      ExxonMobil, Tillerson developed close business ties with. In 2013, Putin even gave him the Order of Friendship. Tillerson is to meet this week with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
     I'm Anne Ball.