The US ambassador in Moscow, John Sullivan, said he would return to Washington this week to consult on US-Russian relations amid a diplomatic crisis between the two countries, the RIA news agency reported on Tuesday.
The agency quoted Sullivan as saying he was planning to return to Moscow before a possible summit between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin within the next few weeks.
In a statement from the embassy, Sullivan also cited wanting to see his family as a reason for his return. The Kremlin had previously “recommended” that Sullivan leave the country temporarily.
What is the state of US-Russia relations?
Washington and Moscow are currently at odds over a number of issues, including alleged Russian meddling in US elections and cyberattacks on US government websites that the US also blames on Russia.
Biden has also caused political outrage in Russia by televised remarks in which he referred to Putin as a “killer.” That comment prompted the recall by Moscow of the Russian ambassador to Washington for consultations last month.
Washington and Moscow have recently expelled 10 of each other’s diplomats in tit-for-tat moves. The US has also imposed numerous sanctions on Russian entities.
Russia has additionally provoked much consternation in the US and other Western countries with a military buildup on the border to eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting government forces since 2014.
The attempted poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, which he and many others blame on the Kremlin, and his subsequent jailing have also drawn much criticism from abroad.