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Russia's new ambassador to US gets down to work by greeting embassy school students

According to Anatoly Antonov, "instead of quarrelling with the Americans, we're marking this beautiful holiday"

WASHINGTON, September 1. /TASS/. Russia's new Ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, who arrived in Washington on Thursday, began his first workday here by greeting the students of the embassy school on the occasions of Knowledge Day, which Russia observes every year on September 1, the date when the academic year begins in the national education system.

"I'm really glad my first official function is here at this school," Antonov said addressing the students, parents and teachers. "Instead of quarrelling with the Americans, we're marking this beautiful holiday and I'd like to congratulate everyone on this occasion."

"I'm really jealous because there's so much you're going to learn," he said.

"What I really feel like having a shortage of in my life is more information and I still feel it," Antonov went on. "And if someone asks me what discipline I feel shortage of, I can tell you it's the Russian language. There's nothing else so beautiful as our Russian language. Please pay more attention to it."

Sergei Yakovlev, the school headtreacher said it had more than 150 students this academic year.

The situation for the Russians in the US is characterized by a rather complicated political background right now. Literally an hour before Antonov's arrival at the Dulles International Airport in Washington, the Trump Administration issued a demand to the Russian government to close down the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco and two diplomatic facilities in Washington and New York by September 2. The Department of State said later the case in hand was trade missions.

"We need a cool, clear-headed and professional course of action now," Antonov told reporters who came to meet and greet him at the airport along with senior diplomats from the Russian embassy.

"Speaking in Lenin's words, we don't need any hysterical fits," he said. "My fellow diplomats and I will do our job professionally."