Don’t Close US Embassy, US Ambassador Tells Russia
NNN: Don’t close US Embassy, says US Ambassador to Russia
Don’t close US Embassy, says US Ambassador to Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin and new U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan attend a ceremony for new foreign ambassadors to Russia, at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia February 5, 2020. Alexander via REUTERS.
“We have to preserve the ability to talk to each other,” Sullivan told TASS in an interview. He warned against removing works by Leo Tolstoy from Western shelves or refusing to play the music of Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
His remarks were reported by Tass in Russian and translated into English by Reuters.
Despite crises, spy scandals and the Cold War, relations between Moscow and Washington have not been severed since the United States established ties with the Soviet Union in 1933.
Now, however, Russia says that its post-Soviet alliance with the West is over and that it will turn east.
Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken joked that he would like to dedicate Taylor Swift’s “We’ll Never Get Back Together” to Putin.
Asked about this remark, Sullivan said: “We will never break completely either.”
When asked by TASS if the analogy meant embassies could be closed, Sullivan said: “They can – there is that possibility, although I think that would be a big mistake.
“If I understand correctly, the Russian government has mentioned the variant of the rupture of diplomatic relations,” he said.
“We can’t just break diplomatic relations and stop talking to us.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the heads of US media’s Moscow bureaus to discuss what it says are the repercussions of hostile US actions.
Tsarina Catherine the Great’s refusal to support the British Empire when America declared independence laid the groundwork for the first diplomatic contact between the United States and St. Petersburg, then the imperial capital of Russia.
Following the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917, President Woodrow Wilson refused to recognize Vladimir Lenin’s revolutionary government and the United States Embassy closed in 1919. Relations were not restored until 1933.
“The only reason I can think of that the United States might be forced to close their embassy would be if it became unsafe to continue their work,” Sullivan said.
Asked about the progress of the relationship, Sullivan, a 62-year-old lawyer, said he didn’t know but added that he hoped there might be a rapprochement one day.