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Moscow Not Ruling Out Temporary Shutdown of US, Russian Diplomatic Missions

© Sputnik / Maxim BlinovFlags of Russia and the United States at the American Embassy in Moscow.
Flags of Russia and the United States at the American Embassy in Moscow. - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.10.2021
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The warning comes amid a visit by US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland to Russia. Nuland said her main mission was seeking to build stable and predictable relations with Moscow, which have been spiralling downwards for over seven years now.
The Kremlin does not rule out a temporary cessation of operations of Russian and American diplomatic missions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has stated. At the same time, Moscow would prefer to avoid such a scenario, he added.
Ryabkov noted that the US and Russia still have "significant potential for crises" in several areas, such as issuing visas, operating conditions at embassies, and rotation of diplomatic personnel. He added that he had discussed these issues with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, who arrived in Russia on 11 October, but no noteworthy progress has been achieved as a result of these consultations.
"The US is not listening to our demands […] But, nonetheless, the conversation was useful. At least we agreed to intensify these discussions and hold specialised consultations. In addition, we agreed to hold additional consultations on some areas of bilateral relations aside from visas and the work of foreign [diplomatic] missions".
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov answers journalists' questions during an interview - Sputnik International
Sergei Ryabkov
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister
The deputy foreign minister did not reveal what other areas of bilateral ties Russia agreed to discuss with the US government.
Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland arrived in Russia on 11 October with the declared goal of working on building stable and predictable relations between Washington and Moscow. Bilateral ties have been in a downward spiral over the last few years, with the trend intensifying in 2014 after Russia accused the West, including the US, of helping to stage a coup in Ukraine. Washington, in turn, slammed Moscow's alleged attempts to influence Kiev's domestic policies and the reunification of Crimea with Russia following a referendum the same year.
The Russian flag flies at half mast at the Consulate-General of Russia in San Francisco, California (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.09.2017
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The deterioration of bilateral relations resulted in the US imposing numerous sanctions on Russia and Moscow responding in kind. The diplomatic missions of both countries suffered too: Washington carried out several mass expulsions of Russian diplomats under often unsubstantiated allegations, closing the nation’s consulate in San Francisco. Moscow again responded in kind, expelling dozens of American diplomats and impeding the ability of US diplomatic missions in Russia to hire locals.
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