Statement comes as Moscow warns President Biden’s words risk ‘collapse’ of relations
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday that the United States and Russia would keep diplomatic missions open in each other’s countries and maintain deconfliction channels.
Earlier in the day, Moscow summoned the US ambassador for what it called President Joe Biden “unacceptable” comments on his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, warning that relations with Washington were “on the verge of collapse”.
“We think it is very important to maintain communication channels with Russia. Open dialogue is crucial, especially in times of tension, especially in times of conflict,” Price told reporters at a regular State Department press conference in Washington. “We have sought to maintain a diplomatic presence in Moscow [and] we sought to ensure that the Russians could continue to maintain a diplomatic presence in the United States,” he added.
Price also highlighted the implementation of “tactical level deconfliction channels with Moscow” as proof that the United States and Russia would stay in touch despite Washington’s efforts to isolate Moscow on the world stage.
Price’s comments came hours after Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned US Ambassador John Sullivan to warn him that US-Russia relations were in jeopardy. “on the verge of collapse” more than “unacceptable” Biden’s statements.
Biden last week called Putin a “murderer” and one “war criminal” with Secretary of State Tony Blinken echoing “war criminal” charge in his own statements. Moscow said such statements were “unworthy of a statesman of such high rank.
While Russia’s public rebuke of Sullivan marks its official response to Biden’s statements, the Kremlin has already responded informally, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying Biden’s rhetoric was “unacceptable and unforgivable” of the president of a state “whose bombs have killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world”.
The Kremlin spokesperson later added that Biden “irritability” and “forgetting” contributed to such “aggressive statements”.
While the Biden administration has refused to intervene militarily in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, Washington has funneled arms and ammunition to kyiv and earmarked billions of dollars for future arms shipments to Ukraine. The United States has also imposed crippling economic sanctions on Russia, which Moscow has described as “economic war” and Biden said they were explicitly designed to “crater” the Russian economy.
Moscow attacked Ukraine in late February, after a seven-year stalemate over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics with capitals in Donetsk and Lugansk. The protocols negotiated by Germany and France were designed to regularize the status of these regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.
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