U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan will travel to Washington this week for consultations on the state of relations between the two countries, which are at their lowest point due to the crossing of sanctions and tension in Ukraine.
“I believe it is important for me to speak directly with my new colleagues in the Biden administration in Washington about the current state of bilateral relations between the United States and Russia,” Sullivan said in a brief statement posted on the website of the U.S. legation in Moscow.
John Sullivan, appointed U.S. ambassador to Russia in 2019 by the administration of former President Donald Trump, further stated that he is traveling to his native country because he has not seen his family in more than a year, “another important reason to return home for a visit.”
“I will return to Moscow in the coming weeks before any meeting between Presidents Biden and [Vladimir] Putin,” the head of the U.S. Embassy in Russia stressed.
U.S. President Joe Biden last week proposed to Putin a bilateral summit in a third country, an idea that Moscow initially welcomed.
However, the prospects for the meeting were complicated when Washington imposed sanctions on Russia two days later for its alleged interference in the 2020 presidential election, its alleged role in the massive SolarWinds cyberattack and its actions in Ukraine and Afghanistan.
Biden further expelled ten members of the Russian diplomatic mission in Washington, to which the Kremlin responded the next day by kicking the same number of US officials out of Moscow, in addition to sanctioning the USA for interference in its affairs and publishing a blacklist of senior officials.
Likewise, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “recommended” last Friday that Sullivan return to his country for consultations, although Moscow did not order his expulsion along with the other diplomats.
The Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, has been back in Moscow since March 21, after being recalled for consultations by the Foreign Ministry after Biden called Putin a “killer“.
Nevertheless, although the Biden Administration warned Russia over the weekend of consequences if Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny dies in custody, the two countries’ National Security Advisors, Jake Sullivan and Nikolai Patrushev, respectively, spoke on Monday by telephone about the possible bilateral summit.
Although relations are at an all-time low, Biden and Putin have found a crack for cooperation on nuclear disarmament and the fight against climate change.
The Russian leader is scheduled to participate this Thursday in the virtual climate summit organized by President Biden.