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Russia-US business ties wrecked, reestablishment will take long time, envoy says

According to John Sullivan, commercial relations between the US and Russia were one of the last major links between our two countries

MOSCOW, June 6. /TASS/. An enormous gap has emerged in the relationship between Washington and Moscow, US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said in an interview with TASS, adding that even if the governments could reconcile that gap it will take a long time to reestablish business ties that have been wrecked.

"Until February of this year, one of the major sources of work and a focus for me was taking care of U.S. business in Russia. I always said that commercial relations between the United States and Russia were one of the last major links between our two countries," he said. "That has been completely wrecked. And my fear … even if our governments could reconcile the enormous gap that now exists between us, is that it is going to take a long time to reestablish the commercial relationships," the diplomat noted.

Many members of the US business community have lived for decades in the country, Sullivan said, adding that "they swore that they never leave Russia." "Now I have lost track of the number of people who have left. <…> Some of them decided they needed to leave, others - their companies were not allowing them to stay," he said. Prior to the events in Ukraine, "I met with the American Chamber of Commerce every two weeks, February 25th is now three months ago. I may have had one video conference since then," the diplomat said.

It took decades to develop the commercial relations between the two countries, US Ambassador noted. "The U.S. companies hiring thousands of people here - engineers, working both in Moscow and outside, in Ekaterinburg, etc.," he said, adding that it is going to take a long time to put that back together. "Years, if not longer. For businesses - it's going to take a long time. And that's when people are in a position to want it, and right now they are leaving, so we're not even thinking about that," Sullivan emphasized.