According to reports, speaking at a joint meeting of the international and defense committees of Russia’s upper house of parliament on Wednesday, Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said he was not anticipating “bright prospects” for Russia-US relations.
He warned that the bilateral ties were in “deep crisis,” which he said had intensified partly due to Washington’s reluctance to iron out problems with Moscow.
Antonov told legislators that the White House was “consistently destroying the entire architecture” of the two country’s interactions as the current American administration, led by US President Joe Biden, continued to “unwind the sanctions spiral under false pretexts.”
The Russian envoy stressed that Washington would not change its standing considerably and the “systemic containment” of Russia would remain a priority for the new occupant of the White House.
“For several years, Russia has actively attempted to improve bilateral ties, to establish equal, mutually respectful, pragmatic dialog… However, we haven’t managed to change the trajectory of Russia-US relations,” Antonov said.
The Russian ambassador has been in Moscow since March 21, after he was recalled by the Russian Foreign Ministry in an unprecedented move for consultations in Moscow and in an attempt to ensure bilateral ties did not degrade irreparably.
Antonov was recalled after Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer” in an interview on March 16.
Moscow strongly rejected both allegations.
Following the joint meeting on Wednesday, Antonov, however, stressed at a press conference that Russia needed good relations with the US as much as Washington needed such relations with Moscow.
“We need good, positive, and pragmatic relations between Russia and the US as much as the US does, and we’re not going to pursue anyone. If the US wants to maintain good relations with Russia, we will always respond positively. At the same time, I would like to emphasize that there is no time to waste,” the diplomat said.
“[As] two permanent members of the [United Nations] Security Council, two great powers possessing 90 percent of [the world’s] nuclear weapons, we must talk, we must think about the fates of the world and security,” Antonov said.
Last month, the US and the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on a number of Russian officials and companies over the case of jailed Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny.
Moscow denounced the sanctions as the “triumph of absurdity over reason” and “an excuse to continue open interference in our internal affairs.”