Russia’s new ambassador praises Trump for ‘warm’ reception
Russia’s new ambassador to the United States said that President Trump was “warm and friendly” in greeting him during a Friday meeting and expressed hope for improved relations between the two countries amid growing tensions.
“The atmosphere was good, constructive and friendly,” Anatoly Antonov said, according to the Russia’s Tass news agency. “President Trump met me cordially. We agree with his staff members to continue our contacts.”
“President Trump received me in a warm and friendly way. … The atmosphere was very genial, constructive and welcoming. At least, that was my personal feeling,” he said, as reported by Reuters.
“We, together with his colleagues, his staff, agreed to continue our cooperation,” he said.
He said that Russia was ready to take “concrete steps” toward mutual cooperation with the U.S.
The relationship between Russia and the U.S. has grown increasingly frosty in recent months amid investigations in the U.S. centering on Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
The House and Senate voted overwhelmingly in July to impose new sanctions on Russia in retaliation for the election meddling. Trump unenthusiastically signed the penalties into law early last month.
In response, the Kremlin ordered the U.S. to cut the size of its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 employees. Weeks later, the U.S. ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco, as well as two diplomatic annexes in Washington and New York — a move that the Trump administration said was made to return to diplomatic parity between the two countries.
Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to those closures this week by warning the U.S. that the Kremlin may order that it cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by another 155 employees.
“We reserve the right to further reduce the number of US diplomats in Moscow,” he told reporters Tuesday.
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