US Ambassador to Moscow, John Sullivan, is going to Washington for deliberation this week after the Kremlin advised him to do so amid the diplomatic crisis between the two superpowers.
Sullivan has announced that he will return to his post in Russia within a few weeks.
That would mean the ambassador is back in Moscow before a possible summit meeting between President Joe Biden and his counterpart Vladimir Putin. Sullivan believes it is essential to speak directly to his colleagues in Washington about “the current state of bilateral relations between the United States and Russia.” He says in a statement that he also wants to see his family again after more than a year.
Last week, the US decided to expel ten employees of the Russian embassy in Washington and declared sanctions against more than 30 Russians or Russian institutions. Those punitive measures were taken for, among other things, a prominent Russian cyberattack and attempt to influence the 2020 US presidential elections.
Moscow responded by expelling ten American diplomats and putting eight Americans, including (former) government employees, on a sanction list. The Russian ministry then indicated that Ambassador Sullivan must return to his home country for consultations. Incidentally, it stated that it did not wish for a further escalation of the diplomatic row.
Poland and the Czech Republic have also expelled Russian diplomats, followed by countermeasures from Moscow. The Kremlin on Tuesday denied that it was to blame for the flaring up of international tensions.
The government is calling on countries to refrain from what it calls “massive anti-Russian psychosis”. According to a Kremlin spokesman, the Czech Republic’s allegations that Russian spies were involved in the 2014 explosion of a weapons depot are baseless and part of a series of attempts to counteract Russia.
In Moscow, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a little later that it would declare two Bulgarian diplomats undesirable persons. It thus responds to the expulsion by Bulgaria last month of two Russian diplomats on suspicion of espionage. The two Bulgarians are given 72 hours to leave Russia.