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Russian Envoy Unlikely to Return to U.S. in Near Future, Deputy FM Says

Anatoly Antonov was recalled to Moscow for emergency talks after U.S. President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer.” Valery Sharifulin / TASS

Russia’s Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov will likely not return to Washington in the near future, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported Wednesday, citing a top diplomatic official. 

Antonov was recalled to Moscow last month following U.S. President Joe Biden’s televised remarks calling his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a “killer” who would “pay a price” for U.S. election meddling. Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassador for emergency talks on the future of the U.S.-Russia relations, an unprecedented step in recent diplomatic history. 

"This is not a question of the next few days. ... The timing [of Antonov’s return] will depend on what steps Washington takes on the bilateral track,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told RIA Novosti.  

“We expect that they will still be able to demonstrate a desire to at least relatively normalize our relations and that something visible and noticeable in this regard will be undertaken," he was quoted as saying. 

Since returning to Moscow, Antonov has held meetings at the Foreign Ministry as well as both houses of Russian parliament. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Putin will decide when Antonov returns to Washington.

Antonov’s return to Moscow comes amid deteriorating U.S.-Russia ties — which were already at post-Cold War lows — due to the jailing of poisoned Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and election interference accusations.

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