Support The Moscow Times!

Ambassador Huntsman: 'Zero Trust' Between U.S. and Russia

Jon Huntsman Jr. (Sergei Konkov / TASS)

In his first major interview with Russian media published Monday, the new U.S. ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman said he plans to restore trust between the two countries, despite worsening relations.

Huntsman was confirmed as the U.S. ambassador in September. During his confirmation hearing, he said that he would meet dissidents, end human rights abuses and help solve the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine while cultivating a “necessary” relationship with Moscow.

“I only just started and I can say that there is zero trust," Huntsman told the Vedomosti business daily. "Trust is the prerequisite for joint work and progress between people and countries.” 

Huntsman said that the desire to improve U.S.-Russia relations runs deep in Washington.

“I did not meet a single person — and I have literally met everyone, starting with the president — who would not talk about the need to improve relations with Russia,” Huntsman said.

Improving relations was a focal point of U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign, despite rising tensions between the two nations and new sanctions against Russia in August 2017.

The new ambassador pointed to Russia’s alleged election interference as the key reason behind the deterioration in relations.

“The meddling brought us to this low point, but the initial reason for the chill was the situation in Ukraine,” he said.

When asked about how to improve relations, Huntsman talked about the need for Russia to openly discuss its election meddling.

“It would be better if we honestly talked about what happened, because every time we raise this topic, my friends in Russia say: There is no evidence,” Huntsman said.

“We’ve been moving in a vicious circle.”

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more