The United States and Russia should not close their embassies despite the crisis caused by the war in Ukraine because the two largest nuclear powers in the world must continue to talk, the US ambassador to Moscow told TASS. President Vladimir Putin has described the invasion of Ukraine as a turning point in Russian history: a revolt against US hegemony that the Kremlin chief said humiliated Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
In an apparent attempt to send a message to the Kremlin, John Sullivan, the US ambassador appointed by President Donald Trump, told TASS that Washington and Moscow should not simply sever diplomatic relations.
“We need to keep the opportunity to talk to each other,” Sullivan said in an interview. He also said: “We cannot erase history, we cannot remove Tolstoy from the bookshelves or stop performing Tchaikovsky. I still think well of the cultural ties between our peoples and countries.” But rebuilding what was shattered in this year’s events will require tremendous effort.
Despite crises, spy scandals and policies on the brink of Cold War conflict, Moscow-Washington relations have not been cut off since the United States established ties with the Soviet Union in 1933. But now, Russia says its post-Soviet ties with the United States are over, and Moscow will look east.
Sullivan was asked about Secretary of State Anthony Blinkon’s joking remark that he would like to dedicate the song to Taylor Swift, ‘We will never be together again.’ The US ambassador replied: “We will also never be completely separated.” Asked by TASS whether this analogy means that embassies can be closed, Sullivan said: “Yes, there is such a possibility, although I think it would be big mistake. We cannot simply sever diplomatic relations and stop talking to each other.”
He added that he said the only reason for closing the US embassy in Moscow would be if it ceased to function safely. The moment for reconciliation between the countries would come sooner or later, but that may not happen in his lifetime. “Well, who in 1979 could have predicted what Soviet-American relations would be like in 1989?” Sullivan noted in this regard.
The resumption of Russian-US nuclear talks is unlikely in the current context, despite the importance of the issue of bilateral relations, the US ambassador to Moscow said. “I just don’t know,” he said when asked if US-Russia talks on nuclear weapons were possible. “I can say with certainty that I have not received any instructions from Washington to be ready for such negotiations. On the other hand, this is one of the most important issues in US-Russia relations,” Sullivan added.
Joe Biden’s gaffe nearly led to diplomatic new lows
On March 21, Sullivan was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, was demarched and also handed a note of protest in connection with the ‘unacceptable’ statements made by the head of the White House, John Biden, about the President of Russia.
On March 16, 2022, in response to a question from a journalist, Joe Biden said that he considers Vladimir Putin a ‘war criminal’. And on March 17, the American president called the Russian president “a bloodthirsty dictator and a pure cutthroat waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine.”
Russia made it clear that such statements by POTUS, was unworthy of a statesman of such a high rank, and put Russian-American relations on the verge of breaking. The Foreign Office warned that hostile actions taken against Russia would receive a decisive and firm rebuff.
The ambassador was strictly asked to ensure normal working conditions for Russian diplomatic missions in the United States, including guarantees for their uninterrupted functioning.
In 2021, the diplomatic relations almost broke
in 2021 as well and remarkably, also on March 16 . George Stephanopoulos, an American journalist, political consultant and analyst, conducted a lengthy interview on behalf of the television company ABC News with US President Joe Biden.
To Stephanopoulos’ question “So you know Vladimir Putin. Do you think he’s a killer?,” the US president immediately gave an answer and nodded in the affirmative: “Uh-huh. Yes”.
Russia reacted harshly and withdrew its ambassador from Washington, and the US ambassador was urged to leave for the US for consultations, which he was eventually forced to do. On May 13, 2021, the Russian government approved a list of unfriendly countries, which included the United States and the Czech Republic.
On June 16, 2021, the leaders of the United States and Russia met in Geneva. As a result of the meeting, it was decided to launch a dialogue on issues of strategic stability. There was a visible change in the relationship. The ambassadors of Russia and the United States returned to their places of service.