Russian ambassador returns ‘optimistic’ to Washington
The Russian ambassador in Washington flew back yesterday to the United States saying he hoped to build "equal and pragmatic" ties after a US-Russia summit in Geneva aimed at reducing tensions.
The plane transporting ambassador Anatoly Antonov, who was recalled in March for consultations, took off at 9:20am (0620 GMT) from Moscow's Cheremetievo airport for New York, where he will travel on to Washington, Russian news agencies reported.
"Given the results of the meeting between the two presidents, I am counting on constructive work with my American colleagues to build equal and pragmatic relations," Antonov told the Ria Novosti agency, adding he was in an "optimistic mood."
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow and Washington agreed for their ambassadors to return, after summit talks in Geneva with US counterpart Joe Biden.
Diplomatic relations between Moscow and Washington had all but broken down since Biden took office and accused the Kremlin of interfering in US elections and launching cyberattacks.
Meanwhile, a top White House advisor yesterday warned that the United States was preparing fresh sanctions against Russia over the near-fatal poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
Jailed Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's most prominent opponent, was arrested in January upon returning to Russia after recovering from a poisoning he says was orchestrated by Moscow.
"We have sanctioned Russia for the poisoning of Alexei Navalny... We rallied European allies in a joint effort to impose costs on Russia for the use of a chemical agent against one of their citizens on Russian soil," Biden's national security advisor Jake Sullivan told CNN's "State of the Union."