After a US-Russia summit in Geneva aimed at easing tensions, the Russian Ambassador in Washington flew back to the US on Sunday, saying he hoped to build “equal and pragmatic” ties.
According to Russian news sources, the jet carrying ambassador Anatoly Antonov, who was recalled in March for consultations, took off from Moscow’s Cheremetievo airport at 9:20 a.m. (0620 GMT) for New York, where he will continue to Washington.
“Given the outcomes of the two presidents’ meeting, I am banking on constructive work with my American colleagues to develop equitable and pragmatic relations,” Antonov told the Ria Novosti news agency, adding that he was in a “optimistic mood.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow and Washington agreed for their ambassadors to return, after summit talks in Geneva with US counterpart Joe Biden.
Since Biden assumed office, diplomatic relations between Moscow and Washington have all but broken out, with the latter accusing Moscow of interfering in US elections and launching cyberattacks.
Following Biden’s comparison of Putin to a “killer,” Russia took the unusual step of recalling ambassador Antonov in March, and stated US envoy John Sullivan to Moscow should also return to Washington.
In April, Sullivan left Moscow as the two countries launched a wave of tit-for-tat sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.
Russia designated the United States as a “unfriendly” country in May, prohibiting its embassy from employing Russian citizens. The Czech Republic is the only other country on the list.