Russia: No progress on diplomatic missions during talks with US

Russia: No progress on diplomatic missions during talks with US
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Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov announced on Tuesday that his country and the United States have not been able to make progress toward diplomatic missions, a sign, he noted, that relations between the countries could worsen.

Ryabkov told Interfax news agency that the countries could not come to an agreement regarding how their embassies should function and the number of diplomats to send to each of their capitals.

"I cannot say we made much headway," Ryabkov said. "Those issues, visas, the terms of embassy operations, rotation of diplomatic staff, and overall normalization of the activity of Russian diplomatic missions in the United States and U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia, have substantial crisis potential, and we do not rule out certain escalations in those areas. This is what we told our American colleagues frankly."

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Ryabkov met with U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland after both countries lifted targeted sanctions barring some Russian and U.S. officials from entering the other country.

The Hill has reached out to Nuland for comment.

Last week, bipartisan senators called on President Biden to expel Russian diplomats from the U.S. or to confront the country following a move by the Kremlin to downsize American missions there.

“We ask that your national security team take immediate, concrete steps to provide U.S. Embassy Moscow with the staffing and support it needs by taking responsible, proportional, and immediate actions in response to the provocations undertaken by the Russian Government,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the president at the time. 

On Tuesday, Ryabkov noted that the conversation between both countries could continue in the future, according to Interfax

"There are some other areas of bilateral work; we should call them sectoral, where we have grounds to intensify the dialogue, and I believe that our relevant agencies will address these matters in the foreseeable future," Ryabkov said.