Russia’s ambassador to the US has flown back to Washington, DC, saying he hoped to build “equal and pragmatic” ties after a US-Russia summit in Geneva aimed at reducing tensions.
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, Russian news agencies reported.
“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,” Antonov told the Ria Novosti agency, adding he was in an “optimistic mood”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, following summit talks in Geneva with US counterpart Joe Biden, said that Moscow and Washington agreed to return their ambassadors to post.
At the same time, on June 20th, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that new sanctions on Russia were being prepared in relation to Alexey Navalny’s sentence being carried out by Moscow.
This happened just days after US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met at a ‘historic summit’ and allegedly reached some sort of agreement on the matter.
“We are preparing another package of sanctions to apply in this case,” Sullivan told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “We’ve shown all along the way that we are not going to pull our punches, whether it’s on solar winds, or election interference, or Navalny when it comes to responding to Russia’s harmful activities.”
Sullivan said the sanctions will come once the US can “ensure that we are getting the right targets,” adding, “When we do that, we will impose further sanctions with respect to chemical weapons.”
The United States in March imposed sanctions on the director of Russia’s FSB security agency after finding it carried out the poisoning of Navalny.
“We are preparing another package of sanctions to apply in this case, as well. We’ve shown along the way we’re not going to pull our punches,” Sullivan added.
Moscow pushed back against the possibility of new sanctions and warned of a Russian response.
“The illegal actions of the United States have always been followed by a legitimate response from us,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. “It is strange that some people in Washington like to go around in circles and be confronted by the same obstacles endlessly.”
On June 17th, one day after the Biden-Putin summit, Putin said that there was hope in dialogue between the two sides.
“We are ready to continue this dialogue to the same extent as the American side is,” Putin said in televised remarks.
The Russian leader said the meeting was “quite friendly” and that he and Biden “were able to understand each other on key issues.”
Immediately after that, despite any agreements and discussions, the US went back and immediately decided to impose sanctions.
Biden said that he warned Putin during their meeting of the consequences if Navalny were to die in prison, telling reporters:
“I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia.”
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