The United States' rebukes against Russia on human rights are unacceptable, the Russian ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said on Thursday.
"Particularly unacceptable are the rebukes in the human rights sphere. Nobody has the right to teach us how to live. Just look at the hysteria that has unfolded over the situation around Navalny," Antonov said at the Cosmos Club discussions on Thursday, as quoted by the Russian Embassy's Facebook page.
"First, flat demands are made that we should plead guilty for the alleged "poisoning" of Navalny with a chemical weapon. At the same time, any counter arguments we put forward and requests for fact-based information we make are brushed off without any reasonable explanation. Then the US authorities impose yet another set of sanctions against Russia, never bothering to present evidence," the diplomat said.
From his point of view, the calls for releasing Navalny are absurd and could be viewed as an interference in Russia's internal affairs.
"No one turns a blind eye to the accumulated problems in bilateral relations. It is necessary to stop sanction threats, to resolve the issues of Russian diplomatic property, restore the activities of the Consulates General, providing us with the opportunity to work again with our compatriots who have been left without our assistance on the West Coast of the United States," Antonov added.
In late February, Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy said that the Russian Consulate General in New York was still experiencing serious problems with internet communications a month after its telephone lines were disconnected. In mid-January, all city telephone lines of the Russian Consulate General in New York had been disconnected for several days. The mission said the US government linked the interruption to technical problems.
Russia, US Should Unite Efforts in Addressing Global Issues, Antonov Says
The ambassador stressed that Moscow and Washington should unite efforts on a number of issues, including the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and climate change.
"It would be in the interests of our countries to unite efforts in countering the coronavirus pandemic, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, climate change, as well as in joint space exploration, environmental protection in the Arctic", the ambassador said.
"The Russian Side expects a deeper dialogue on the regional issues. These include Syria, Afghanistan, the situation on the Korean peninsula, the restoration of work under the JCPOA, the situation in the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Africa. Today we deem it a priority practical task to resume the full infrastructure of communication on the governmental track," Antonov said.
The diplomat also stressed that the proposal of Russian President Vladimir Putin on a wider program of cooperation on international information security was still on the table.
"We are particularly concerned about the lack of normal practice of communication between our legislators," he added.
According to Antonov, "[i]t would be reasonable to consider convening a joint meeting of foreign and defence ministers. Such a setting contact would provide impetus for other channels of communication."
Speaking about the bilateral security dialogue, the diplomat stressed the need to "take into account emerging military technologies and other factors affecting strategic security." As an example of recent positive developments in the bilateral dialogue, Antonov cited the extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) for five years.
"I would like to stress that the New START Treaty has an international dimension. The Treaty confirms the commitments of Moscow and Washington to fulfill their disarmament obligations under the NPT which explicitly highlights the importance to pursue such negotiations. Prolongation of New START is of utmost importance in the run-up to the NPT Review Conference expected to take place this year," the diplomat said.
Antonov also expressed Russia's readiness to make steps to improve relations with the United States, adding that the political will of the new US administration is needed to reach that.