Russia’s ambassador to the United States returned to Moscow, Russia on Sunday for discussions on how to address degrading U.S.-Russia relations after U.S. President Joe Biden said he thought Vladimir Putin was a killer.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it was recalling its ambassador, Anatoly Antonov, for urgent discussions after Biden said in an ABC interview he thought President Putin was a killer who would “pay a price” for alleged U.S. election meddling – an accusation that Russian government has denied.
Putin responded to Biden by mentioning a Russian children’s playground chant that “he who said it, did it”, and offered to hold a live online debate with the U.S. president, a proposal Biden has not so far taken up saying he is “busy”.
The Russian embassy in Washington’s social media accounts published a photo of Antonov in the early hours of Sunday morning at a U.S. airport, with an Aeroflot plane idling on the runway.
“Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov is on his way to Moscow to participate in consultations on rectifying Russia-U.S. relations,” the embassy said.
Both nations have said they will only collaborate when it is in their national interest to do so.
Antonov informed reporters before boarding his plane that there was a lot of work for the Russian foreign ministry and others to do, but that he had no doubt that keeping lines of communication open was in the interests of the people of the US.
A plane carrying Antonov had touched down at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday.