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AFP
April 21, 2021

Soaring US-Russia tensions: US envoy returning home for consultations

Top Story

AFP
April 21, 2021

MOSCOW: Washington´s envoy to Moscow will return to the United States for consultations, the US embassy said on Tuesday, after Moscow "recommended" that ambassador John Sullivan temporarily leave amid soaring tensions.

"Ambassador Sullivan is returning to the United States for consultations this week," the US diplomatic mission in Moscow said in a statement sent to AFP.

"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," the statement quoted Sullivan as saying.

The announcement came amid a spike in tensions between Moscow and Washington over a litany of disputes, including alleged meddling in US elections, Russia´s troop build-up along Ukraine´s borders and the deteriorating health of President Vladimir Putin´s imprisoned critic Alexei Navalny.

US President Joe Biden is pursuing a tougher line against Putin but has also proposed that the two leaders meet for a summit in a third country later this year. Sullivan said he would return to Moscow "in the coming weeks", before any meeting between Biden and Putin. Moscow has said it is studying the summit proposal.

Moscow recalled its own envoy, Anatoly Antonov, from Washington for consultations in March and last week the former Cold War foes announced a wave of tit-for-tat sanctions and expulsions of diplomats.

On Friday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Putin´s top foreign policy aide, Yury Ushakov, had recommended that Sullivan leave for Washington to conduct “serious consultations”. Putin´s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the return of ambassadors would depend on talks on a range of issues.