Responding to new threats of US sanctions, the Kremlin said Monday that it still expects Washington to try to “contain” Russia despite the recent meeting between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The [Russian] president’s words about the constructive mood during the summit do not indicate that we have moved away from a sober assessment of our bilateral relations with the United States,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“Pragmatism and sobriety are most important in these relations. And both suggest that the constructive, positive results of the summit absolutely do not indicate that the United States will abandon its policy of containing Russia,” he added.
On Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US was preparing new sanctions that will target Russia over the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, which Moscow denies responsibility for.
Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the US, was the first Russian official to respond to Sullivan’s comments. “This is not a signal we all expected after the summit,” he said. “I don’t think it is possible to stabilize and normalize relations between countries by means of sanctions.”
Antonov returned to Washington on Sunday after being recalled to Moscow for a few months. The US ambassador to Russia was also recalled and is expected to return to Moscow this week. Biden and Putin agreed during last week’s summit to return ambassadors to each other’s capital.
The two leaders also agreed to eventually hold new arms control talks. But with the US already threatening new sanctions is a bad signal to send to Moscow and could hinder potential arms control talks or other negotiations that need to be started in good faith.