According to the deputy minister, the question was raised during Russian-US consultations in Istanbul on Friday, during which technical exchanges were held on normalizing the functioning of embassies and de-escalation of bilateral relations. The diplomat emphasized: the meeting does not mean that Moscow will resume dialogue with Washington on key topics.
Ryabkov said that according to the Russian proposal, after establishing the upper limit, the parties themselves will decide how many people are needed for each foreign duty station. Washington has yet to respond to this, he said.
Ryabkov said the meeting was useful, the exchange of ideas was practical, and that they discussed small matters and progress was limited. As he said, the parties did not make progress on the main issues related to the tasks of diplomatic missions, issuance of visas and rotation of diplomats, but at the same time they unanimously plan to continue such relations in 2023. An exact time frame, dates or even location were not agreed upon.
Ryabkov accused the US of turning diplomatic missions into instruments of pressure.
He objected to Washington limiting the maximum stay of Russian diplomats in the US to three years without any justification.
He predicted that the Russian side would respond to the fact that a group of Russian diplomats would be forced to leave the United States early next year. As he put it, the response is always on a “tooth for tooth” basis, albeit not symmetrically. Earlier, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov announced that the group of diplomats forced out by the US side will leave the country on January 1.
Ryabkov did not express his understanding of what US National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan said in Washington on Monday that there would be US-Russia talks this week over the fate of ex-Marine Paul Whelan, accused of spying for Russia.
I don’t know what he meant. According to the data available to me, no communication is expected through the lines that I am aware of
– he said.
The diplomat described the bilateral contacts as “episodic” at different levels and flights. As he said, any of these questions can be raised, but the exchange of prisoners is handled by pre-designated people.
Whalen expressed frustration last week, saying the Biden administration did not do enough to secure his release. He said this after Victor Putat, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the United States for killing American citizens and financing terrorism, and American basketball player Brittney Griner, who were sentenced to nine years in prison after the discovery of belly oil. E-cigarettes were distributed and released at Seremetyevo Airport on Thursday.
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