Russia's Washington envoy to return to Moscow on March 20

WION Web Team
Moscow, Russia Published: Mar 18, 2021, 03:03 PM(IST)

(File) Russia's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Moscow's strained relationship with Washington hit a new low Wednesday when Russia called back its ambassador over comments made by US President Joe Biden who likened his Russian counterpart to a "killer".

Russia's ambassador in the United States will depart Washington on Saturday (March 20) for urgent consultations in Moscow, the embassy has said.

Moscow's strained relationship with Washington hit a new low Wednesday when Russia called back its ambassador over comments made by US President Joe Biden who likened his Russian counterpart to a "killer".

Russia on Wednesday refuted US intelligence allegations that Putin had likely directed efforts to try to swing the 2020 presidential election in Donald Trump's favour, terming them baseless.

A 15-page American intelligence report, released on Tuesday, said several Trump's top lieutenants played into Moscow's hands by amplifying claims made against then-candidate Joe Biden by Russian-linked Ukrainian figures in the run-up to the November 3 presidential election.

"On March 20, Ambassador of Russia to the United States Anatoly Antonov is leaving for Moscow for consultations," the embassy said in a statement early Thursday.

Antonov planned to discuss "ways to rectify Russia-US ties, which are in crisis," it said. It added that "certain ill-considered statements of high-ranking US officials have put the already excessively confrontational relations under the threat of collapse." 

Also read | Russia calls US allegations over Putin-directed election meddling 'baseless'

In an interview with ABC News, Biden was asked about a US intelligence report that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to harm his candidacy in the November 2020 election and promote that of Donald Trump.

Biden, to this end, said, "He will pay a price."

And when asked if he thought Putin, who has been accused of ordering the poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny and other rivals, is a "killer," Biden said: "I do."

The comments were aired as the US Commerce Department announced it was toughening export restrictions imposed on Russia as punishment for jailed Kremlin critic Navalny's poisoning.

On Thursday, Konstantin Kosachev, a deputy head at the Russian parliament's upper house, said that Washington should apologise. "Such statements are unacceptable in any circumstances and will inevitably sharply damage our bilateral ties," he wrote on Facebook.

Washington is expected to impose sanctions on Moscow as soon as next week because of the allegations. Those sanctions could also address the cyber hack blamed on Russia that used US company SolarWinds Corp to penetrate American government networks.

Also read | Russia recalls Washington envoy for consultations 

Russia has already denied any involvement in that hack.

(with inputs from agencies)

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