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Russia wants more predictability from US, says ambassador

Anatoly Antonov thinks that Washington will apparently continue pressure on Moscow
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov Valery Sharifulin/TASS
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Russia wants the United States’ foreign policy to be more predictable, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said on Saturday.

"All we want is predictability, confidence in future, confidence in the United States’ actions. We want to live peacefully so that, excuse me for such lofty words, our foreign policy could help encourage the country’s internal development. As a matter of fact, this is what we are doing," he said in an interview with the Solovyov Live YouTube channel.

He thinks that Washington will apparently continue pressure on Moscow. "All I can see for the foreseeable future is that pressure on us will be continued. A couple of days ago, I met with diplomats from former Soviet republics and agreed that everything the current US administration is doing is continuing pressure on us all around," he said.

The Russian side has already requested first contacts with the US President Joe Biden administration to outline possible spheres of cooperation, Antonov said. He hoped for "pragmatic cooperation" with Washington in a number of areas. "The people who are now working in the Department of State and in the White House, - we have already sent them requests to arrange first contacts and begin to see what we can do together," he said.

He recalled the recent statement by the US European Command that the US side was first deploying B-1B Lancer bombers in Norway. "My question is: what for, who are they going to bomb there? NATO is building up its military presence along the line of contact with Russia. Is there anything good about it?," he noted.

"My American friends in the Council on Foreign Relations asked me yesterday: ‘Mr. Ambassador, what can Russia do to mitigate irritations in bilateral relations, in particular between Russia and NATO?’ I asked them: ‘What do you want from me? Do you really want me to approach our Chief of General Staff Gerasimov, say, when I am on leave in Russia, and say well, NATO is looming over our border, but take it easy, withdraw troops’? I ask these rhetoric questions to ambassador of Western nations I maintain contacts with," Antonov said.

He stressed that it would not be possible to ease tensions in relations until the sides begin dialogue. So, in his words, it is necessary to restore communications channels that have been wrecked in the recent years. "It is high time to stop speaking via YouTube and the mass media. It is high time to sit down at the negotiating table, to look each other in the eyes and begin conversation," he added.

US 46th President Joe Biden was sworn into office on January 20. Russian and US Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, had a 35-minute telephone conversation on January 26. The two leaders expressed satisfaction with the exchange of diplomatic notes on the extension of the New START Treaty that had taken place earlier in that day. They also discussed possibilities for cooperation in combating the coronavirus pandemic, in trade-and-economic and other spheres, as well as topics of international agreements and other current problems.