In an interview with TV network Dozhd, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia spoke about the main disagreements in the U.S.-Russian relations.
In an interview with the Dozhd TV network, U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan said that his only objective as ambassador to Russia is to “protect Americans in Russia.” He also said that “Russia should fulfill its obligations, which stem from international agreements and consist of ensuring due process and protecting human rights.
He stressed, however, that he is not a supporter of “a particular candidate of a particular party or a particular person.” “I do not interfere – we do not interfere in internal political debates in Russia. That’s up to the Russians,” Sullivan stated. – Likewise, we Americans believe that our democracy is carried out as a result of debate among Americans themselves with opinions that are expressed externally.”
Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador to Russia because of the warnings from the U.S. Embassy about planned actions in support of Alexei Navalny. The text of the warnings indicates that rallies are not authorized by the authorities, and recommends that U.S. citizens avoid demonstrations or related events.
Speaking about the situation around Alexei Navalny, the U.S. diplomat said in an interview that there are “a number of aspects that are of serious concern to the United States.”
“The first is the use of banned chemical weapons, which we believe requires an explanation, as does the very existence of such weapons,” Sullivan noted. – And the second is the human rights issue of first the poisoning of Mr. Navalny and then, after his recovery, his arrest upon his return to Russia. You’ve heard statements made at all levels, from President Biden to lower-level officials. So our position is very clear, and it’s not just the U.S. position, it’s a wide range of countries, particularly in Europe.”
Sullivan also said that the U.S. and the European Union have no plans to ease sanctions against Moscow imposed because of the annexation of Crimea.
The diplomat stressed that Washington’s approach to Ukraine and the Minsk agreements did not change. According to him, the United States will continue dialogue on Donbass in different formats, including the Normandy format.
“I know that this issue is a high priority for the current administration and for President Biden, and that he touched on Ukraine in his conversation with President Putin. You know, the U.S. government’s position on Ukraine has remained unchanged over the last seven years under three administrations already,” John Sullivan said. – We are not going to weaken sanctions, in any case, neither the U.S. nor our allies and partners intend to weaken the sanctions imposed as a result of these events.
However, the ambassador noted that even though there are many disagreements between Washington and Moscow, there are many areas where they continue to have a dialogue in the interests of global security. For example, the Iranian nuclear program, prevention of a new conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and the fight against international terrorism. Sullivan recalled that thanks to information provided by the U.S. back under President Donald Trump, a serious terrorist attack was prevented in Russia, and this was gratefully received by the Russian leadership at the highest level.
“There are over a thousand American companies operating in Russia. The ties between U.S. citizens and Russians are much more multidimensional now than they were 30 or 40 years ago when my predecessors, U.S. ambassadors, operated under strained relations with the Soviet Union…,” the U.S. ambassador said. – We continue to engage the Russian government on a variety of issues. We disagree on some of them, many of them, but there are issues on which we agree, such as the extension of START III.
Answering the question about the situation in Belarus, Sullivan emphasized that the United States supports the right of the Belarusian people to freely express their opinions, including via fair and transparent elections. And this right should be respected by all countries without exception, added the American diplomat.