Vedomosti: Russia, US unlikely to reboot dialogue

Mar. 30, 2021

Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov, who was summoned to Moscow for consultations, will return to Washington in the near future, TASS revealed earlier. Antonov left Washington on March 20, after US President Joe Biden’s disparaging remark about Putin on TV. During an exclusive interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, when asked whether he considered Putin to be a “killer,” Biden answered that he did. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that as of March 29, Antonov had not talked to Putin.

The fact that the Russian ambassador did not hold talks with Putin is telling, Vedomosti notes. Head of the Center for Applied Research at the Institute of US and Canadian Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences Pavel Sharikov told Vedomosti that this fact shows that Putin is not interested in any conflict escalation with the US. The imminent return of the Russian ambassador to Washington demonstrates this as well. “Moscow has decided against providing a tough response,” Sharikov stated. He noted that the main achievement of diplomacy is that that the conflict did not escalate, however, Russian-US relations are unlikely to reboot anytime soon.

The future of Russian-American ties under the Biden administration is rather clear. It is obvious that the US will not meet Russia halfway if Moscow decides to make concessions, since the administration in Washington is resolved to punish Moscow for allegedly swiping the 2016 US election from the Democrats, a Russian diplomatic source told Vedomosti. Given these conditions, Russia should not respond to vague invitations of the US for dialogue, it should only do so when it directly corresponds to Moscow’s interests, the source said.

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On March 26, the White House press service confirmed that Biden had invited Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping to participate in the virtual Climate Summit scheduled for April 22-23. The newspaper’s diplomatic source thinks that there is no point for Russia to accept this invitation, since there will be attempts to prevent the Russian leader from addressing the summit or to downplay his participation as much as possible, so it is unlikely that this summit will bring positive results to Russian-American ties.

When asked about any options for further developing bilateral cooperation between both states, the expert said that he is unsure whether Russia has “the resources to contain the US.” However, there is a basis for cooperation, namely in the sphere of arms control, the source pointed out, which is proven by Biden’s decision to prolong the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). In five years, Moscow and Washington will have to discuss this matter again, and substantive talks on a new arms control treaty may surface in the near future, the newspaper’s source suggested.

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