Russia warns of 'new aggravations' in US ties

By: AFP      Published: 11:22 PM, 12 Oct, 2021
US Russia talks
Russia warns of 'new aggravations' in US ties.

Russia on Tuesday warned that ties with the United States faced the threat of "new aggravations", as talks with visiting US official Victoria Nuland ended with no breakthrough.

The discussions held behind closed doors saw Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov and US officials led by Nuland discuss a long-running row over embassy staffing limits, among other issues. 

Consular services at the US embassy in Moscow have been severely hindered after Russia banned the mission from employing local staff as part of tit-for-tat sanctions.

Ryabkov said the talks had been "useful" but stressed that the officials had failed to make progress on the functioning of missions, including visas and rotation of personnel.

He warned that a lack of progress on core disagreements raised the possibility of new areas of conflict.

"There is very little progress when it comes to the substantive part of the problems that exist," news agency Interfax quoted Ryabkov as saying. "There is a risk of new aggravations."

"Americans are not heeding our logic or our demands," state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Ryabkov as saying. 

In a statement later on Tuesday, the Russian foreign ministry said Moscow did not want to escalate tensions but warned Washington against further pursuing "confrontational" policies.

"We propose the removal of all restrictions that have been introduced on both sides over the past few years," the statement added.

The two sides are embroiled in many disagreements, including over the conflict in Ukraine -- which Ryabkov said was not discussed. 

Joe Biden has increased pressure on the Kremlin since becoming US president in January.

In May, Russia formally designated the United States an "unfriendly state".

Nuland arrived on Monday for a three-day visit that will include talks with President Vladimir Putin's foreign policy adviser Yury Ushakov, the Kremlin said.

She was allowed into Russia despite previously having been placed on a sanctions list.

In exchange, Washington issued a US visa to a representative of the Russian foreign ministry.