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Envoy says US-Russia relations going through ‘Ice Age’, but Washington fears split

According to Anatoly Antonov, now "the situation is not to say that it has improved, but at least it has more or less stabilized"
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov Valery Sharifulin/TASS
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

WASHINGTON, December 23. /TASS/. The state of Russia-US dialogue currently resembles an ‘Ice Age’ , but the US side does not want a complete breakup, understanding the consequences of excessively drastic steps, Russian envoy to the US Anatoly Antonov told TASS in an interview.

"It is the fault of the local [US] ruling circles, who are obsessed with the idea of making an ‘international pariah’ out of us, that the state of Russia-US dialogue is now like an ‘Ice Age’," he said. "Communication with representatives of the administration is sporadic. Mostly by phone or e-mail. There are no signs that Washington is willing to seek diplomatic solutions in order to normalize bilateral relations," the Russian diplomat stressed.

"They invite us to the State Department or call us only to read out another demarche and pass a note of protest. At the same time, they rarely give us an opportunity to give our stance. They interrupt us while we are voicing our position, telling us bluntly that our time is up," the envoy said.

"At the same time, we must admit that the Americans do not want to see a complete break. They are trying to control the crisis. They understand that any drastic steps will have consequences," Antonov noted. "Especially since we are talking about the two largest nuclear powers. They also realize that it is impossible to answer or find answers to global challenges without Russia. The food crisis is a clear example. Besides, the White House needs this communication channel to solve other emerging problems, including, for example, prisoner swaps," he pointed out.

According to Antonov, another important factor is Washington's attempts to influence "the domestic situation in Russia through diplomatic opportunities." "We are aware of the Americans’ actions. We are suppressing them. America's intentions here are obvious. They want to support the opposition inside our country, trying to sway the situation, to set public opinion against the special military operation," he said.

"Despite the unconstructive approaches of our American colleagues, we continue to work with them and convince them of the futility of ‘talking out of both sides of your mouth’ or using strong language. Patiently and on a daily basis, we convey the goals and objectives of Russian policy and the truth about the special military operation. Of course, we explain in the simplest terms the dangers of the US getting involved in the Ukrainian crisis," the envoy added

Atmosphere of hostility

When asked about the conditions under which the embassy itself was operating, Antonov stressed that it was forced to work "in an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust." "Under the conditions of the unleashed campaign to ‘cancel’ Russia and everything related to our country, combined with attempts of psychological pressure from the US secret services, the position of the diplomatic mission reminds us of a siege." "This was especially evident during the 'spring flare-up' when at first they believed they could break us," he said.

According to the envoy, now "the situation is not to say that it has improved, but at least it has more or less stabilized." "More precisely: we’ve gotten used to this atmosphere of hostility and danger. However, one cannot rule out new attacks of Russophobic hysteria," he added.

According to Antonov, the embassy's work is also seriously complicated by the problems that the US creates with staffing: "We are experiencing serious difficulties with staffing. Many of our comrades have to leave by January 1 of next year, there are no replacements, the review of applications is difficult, and sometimes we get refusals," he said.