On Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the US is not cooperating with Russia to resolve a longstanding diplomatic dispute.
Over the past few years, the US has been expelling Russian diplomats and setting restrictions on Russia’s embassy and consulates. Moscow has responded in kind, leaving fewer diplomats in each country as tensions between the two powers are soaring.
Ryabkov said that while the US and Russia have been engaged in talks on other issues, they remained deadlocked on the diplomatic dispute. “Overall this whole bloc of issues is at a deep impasse and practically cannot be resolved because of the lack of US cooperation,” he said.
In the latest move, the US said 27 Russian diplomats have to leave the country by the end of January. The US says the diplomats only have to leave because their visas are expiring, but Moscow views it as an expulsion since it was impossible for the Russians to renew their visas due to delays. Russia said it will expel US diplomats in retaliation.
In October, Ryabkov discussed the dispute with Victoria Nuland, a notorious Russia hawk who is now serving as Biden’s undersecretary of state for political affairs. During the meeting, Ryabkov offered a mutual lifting of the diplomatic restrictions, but Nuland didn’t agree.