Russian ambassador returns to US to build ‘equal, pragmatic’ ties

Russian ambassador returns to US to build ‘equal, pragmatic’ ties
Russia's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, was in an optimistic mood ahead of his return to Washington [File:AFP]
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Daily US Times: Russian ambassador to the United States has flown back to Washington, DC, saying he hoped to build “equal and pragmatic” ties after a Biden-Putin summit in Geneva aimed at reducing tensions.

Russian news agencies reported that the plane transporting Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, who was recalled in March for consultations, left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on Sunday for New York, where he will travel on to Washington.

Antonov told the Ria Novosti agency: “Given the results of the meeting between the two presidents, I am counting on constructive work with my American colleagues to build equal and pragmatic relations,” adding he was in an “optimistic mood”.

Vladimir Putin of Russia, following summit talks in Geneva with US president Joe Biden, said on Wednesday that Moscow and Washington agreed to return their ambassadors to post.

Diplomatic relations between the US and Russia had all but broken down since Biden took office and accused the Kremlin of interfering in US elections and launching cyberattacks.

After Joe Biden likened Vladimir Putin to a “killer”, Russia in March took the rare step of recalling Ambassador Antonov and said the US envoy John Sullivan to Russia should return to Washington.

Sullivan left Russia in April as the two countries announced a wave of tit-for-tat sanctions and expulsions of diplomats.

Sullivan was quoted as saying in a tweet by the US embassy’s spokesman Jason Rebholz: “After an important summit, I look forward to returning to Moscow soon.”

For years, US-Russia relations have been deteriorating, notably with Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, its 2015 intervention in Syria and US charges – denied by Moscow – of meddling in the 2016 election won by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.

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