Diplomatic restrictions imposed by Russia and the United States on each other in recent years may be lifted if the Russian Foreign Ministry exists. The plan was presented by Deputy Secretary of State Sergei Rybkov during talks with US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in Moscow. He has not yet responded publicly.
Among other things, the United States decided in April to expel ten employees from the Russian embassy in Washington due to a major Russian cyber attack and attempts to influence the US presidential election in 2020, and announced other punitive measures. Moscow responded by expelling ten U.S. diplomats and adding eight Americans to the embargo list. Mutual evictions have occurred as a result of a poisonous attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skribal and his daughter.
Rybkov said there was no progress to report earlier. “Our positions did not agree. The Americans did not listen to our logic and our demands. But the dialogue was effective.” The State Department said it did not want to allow the Russian government to escalate tensions, but would not hesitate to retaliate against any “hostile” US actions.
Despite the sanctions list, Nuland was allowed by Moscow to speak with Russian officials for three days. In return, Washington issued a visa to Russian Ambassador Konstantin Vorontsov, who was in talks to disarm.
Rybkov noted that visas and diplomatic relations are the main topics of discussion, which are deeply stressed by mutual exclusions. Nuland’s main theme is to establish “stable and predictable” relations between the two countries. After meeting with Ryapko, he said, “I am pleased to be back in Russia to resolve our bilateral relations.”
Moscow and Washington face each other on a variety of issues, including Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, international crises, electoral interference, cyber attacks and espionage. Both nuclear powers are trying to start their conversation on topics of common interest. At the end of September they talked about arms control in Geneva.
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