Trip away for US ambassador to Russia

·1-min read

US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan says he will return to the United States this week for consultations, as a crisis in ties between Moscow and Washington deepens.

Sullivan said in a statement he planned to return to Moscow "in the coming weeks."

US President Joe Biden last week expelled 10 Russian diplomats and imposed significant sanctions on the Russian economy as a way to punish the Kremlin for alleged election meddling and a major cyberhack.

Russia responded in kind, ordering 10 US diplomats out of the country, placing an entry ban on eight current and former US officials, and also suggesting that Sullivan return to Washington.

"I believe it is important for me to speak directly with my new colleagues in the Biden administration in Washington about the current state of bilateral relations between the United States and Russia," Sullivan said in a statement posted by the US embassy.

"Also, I have not seen my family in well over a year, and that is another important reason for me to return home for a visit. I will return to Moscow in the coming weeks before any meeting between Presidents Biden and Putin."

Despite each side ratcheting up the pressure, the leaders have signalled an openness to dialogue.

Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted an invitation by Biden to attend an online videoconference on climate change this Thursday.

The US president also wants to meet Putin in Europe this summer for a face-to-face meeting to discuss US-Russian relations.

Putin has not yet indicated whether he will accept that invitation.