US Ambassador to Moscow sees little chance of improved Russia-US ties ‘anytime soon’

Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan (U.S. Department of State/Flickr)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan says Washington and Moscow are unlikely to see their relationship become more productive “anytime soon.”

Relations between the two nations have worsened to near post-Cold War lows since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24, for which the United States and European Union have slapped Russia with several rounds of crippling sanctions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the invasion a turning point in Russian history, a revolt against the hegemony of the United States, which Putin says has humiliated Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“I hesitate to make a prediction that Russia and the U.S. are never going to have a more productive relationship. What I can’t say is how long it is going to take. In the current atmosphere, it is not happening…not in my lifetime,” Sullivan told the TASS news agency in an interview on June 6, adding that “for the United States, President [Joe] Biden has made our position very clear: no business as usual with Russia.”

“One of our standard talking points from both sides, from the Russian side too, was that we have reached a low-point in U.S.-Russia relations in the post-Cold War era,” he emphasized.

Sullivan returned to Moscow in June 2021 after being recalled two months earlier when the United States and Russia announced tit-for-tat sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.

Sullivan said that despite the crisis in relations, Russia should not close the U.S. Embassy in Moscow as channels must remain open to ensure dialogue continues.

“We must preserve the ability to speak to each other,” Sullivan stressed, adding that closing the embassies of the world’s two biggest nuclear nations “will be a mistake.”