U.S. envoy to Russia to fly back amid worsening tensions

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said Tuesday he would travel to the U.S. for consultations this week, four days after the Kremlin suggested Washington call him back amid a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

Russia remembered its own ambassador to Washington last month after President Joe Biden said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was a “murderer” and the two countries imposed new sanctions on each other last week.

“I think it is important that I speak directly to my new colleagues in the Biden administration in Washington about the current state of bilateral relations between the United States and Russia,” said Sullivan in a statement posted on the US embassy website .

But he said he would return to Moscow “before any meeting between Presidents Biden and Putin” in the coming weeks.

Despite the poor state of relations, the Kremlin did not rule out Biden’s proposal for a summit meeting between the two leading politicians in Europe. Putin will be speaking at an online climate summit hosted by Biden on Thursday.

Last Thursday, Washington imposed new sanctions on Russia for suspected malicious activity, including interfering with last year’s US elections, cyber hacking and bullying in neighboring Ukraine. It has also warned Russia of “consequences” if Alexei Navalny, an opposition politician on hunger strike in prison, died.

Moscow retaliated with sanctions against the United States and refused what it sees as foreign interference in the Navalny case.

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