Diplomatic relations between the two countries had practically broken down since Biden took office.
Russia’s ambassador to the United States flew back to Washington, DC, and said he hoped to build “equal and pragmatic” ties after a US-Russian summit in Geneva aimed at reducing tensions.
The plane carrying Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, who was called for consultations in March, left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday for New York, where it will travel to Washington, Russian news agencies reported.
“Given the results of the meeting between the two presidents, I am counting on constructive work with my American colleagues to build egalitarian and pragmatic relationships,” Antonov told Ria Novosti news agency, adding that he was in “an optimistic mood.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin, following talks at the Geneva summit with his US counterpart Joe Biden, said on Wednesday that Moscow and Washington agreed to return their ambassadors to their posts.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries had all but been severed since Biden took office and accused the Kremlin of interfering in the US elections and launching cyberattacks.
After Biden disliked Putin as a “murderer,” Russia in March took the rare step of calling Ambassador Antonov and saying that US envoy John Sullivan to Moscow should return to Washington.
Sullivan left Moscow in April when the two countries announced a wave of tit-for-tat sanctions and expulsions of diplomats.
“After an important summit, I hope to return to Moscow soon,” Sullivan said in a tweet from US embassy spokesman Jason Rebholz.
AmbSullivan: “After an important summit, I hope to return to Moscow soon to lead the strong team @USEmbRu as we implement #POTUS Biden’s policy directives outlined in Geneva, including strategic stability, #human rights, a stable and predictable relationship with #Russia. “
– Jason P. Rebholz (@USEmbRuPress) June 19, 2021
Relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated for years, notably with Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, its intervention in Syria in 2015, and accusations by the United States, denied by Moscow, of meddling in the 2016 election won by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.
Putin said last week that it was “difficult to say” whether relations would improve, but that there was a “glimmer of hope.”
The Russian leader called Biden a constructive and experienced partner, and said they spoke “the same language.”
But he added that there has been no friendship, but a pragmatic dialogue on the interests of his two countries.