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Russian envoy’s return to US depends on Putin’s decision — Lavrov

The diplomat is currently in Moscow for consultations on bilateral relations following US President Joe Biden's notorious interview

MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. It is up to Russian President Vladimir Putin to decide when the country’s Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov will return to Washington, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Channel One’s Great Game show on Thursday.

"It is up to Russian President Vladimir Putin to decide," he said in response to a question.

The ambassador was invited to Moscow for consultations following US President Joe Biden’s interview with ABC News, in which he had said that the Russian authorities would have to "pay a price" for their alleged interference in US elections. In addition, when asked if he considered Putin to be "a killer," Biden answered in the affirmative. Antonov has held a number of meetings after arriving in Moscow on March 21.

"He has met with members of the State Duma [the lower house of parliament] Committee on International Affairs and the Federation Council [the upper house of parliament] <...> Committee on Foreign Affairs. He has also held conversations with officials from the presidential executive office," Lavrov specified.

"It is important for us to analyze the situation in our relations, which did not emerge overnight or on the day of the interview but it took several years for things to reach this point. Use of unacceptable wording during US President Joe Biden’s interview with ABC News made it clear that it was high time to carry out such an analysis. It doesn’t mean that we used to watch the developments for years, without making any conclusions. The thing is that now time has come to summarize things," the Russian top diplomat said.