US Ambassador John Sullivan in Moscow Heads Home for Consultations amid tensions
US Ambassador John Sullivan in Moscow Heads Home for Consultations amid tensions

WASHINGTON: The United States Ambassador to Russia John J. Sullivan has said that he will head home for consultations – a step that comes after the Kremlin prodded him to take a break as Washington and Moscow traded sanctions. Sullivan said that he would leave Russia temporarily to discuss bilateral ties with colleagues in Washington, days after Moscow suggested him to return home for consultations amid tensions between the two countries.

"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 between the United States and Russia," Sullivan said in a brief statement, Xinhua reported.

The envoy said he would return to Moscow "in the coming weeks" before a possible in-person meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters later Tuesday that Sullivan is "returning at an opportune time to undertake consultations here to see his family," noting that his return was not an expulsion by Russia.

He added that Sullivan had been deeply engaged in "our new approach to Russia," which aims at a stable and predictable relationship with Moscow. Sullivan's leave follows recent diplomatic clashes between the two countries.

Sullivan's departure comes after Russia on Friday stopped short of asking Sullivan to leave the country but said it “suggested” that he follows the example of the Russian ambassador to the U.S., who was recalled from Washington last month after President Joe Biden described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “killer.” Russia has set no time frame for Ambassador Anatoly Antonov's return to Washington.


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