Russia summons US ambassador, warns ties with Washington on verge of collapsing

US President Joe Biden had made “unacceptable statements” about his Russian counterpart, the Foreign Ministry said.

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The US ambassador to Russia was summoned to Moscow’s Foreign Ministry on Monday where he was warned that bilateral ties are on the verge of collapsing, according to a statement from Russia.

Russian state-owned news media cited the statement as saying that US President Joe Biden had made “unacceptable statements” about his Russian counterpart.

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The statement, handed to US Ambassador John Sullivan, was apparently referring to Biden’s comments in which he called Vladimir Putin a war criminal after he ordered an invasion of Ukraine.

“Such statements from the US president, unworthy of a statesman of such high rank, put Russian-American relations on
the verge of being severed,” the statement read.

The US Embassy in Moscow posted a statement to Twitter without mentioning the Russian statement.

“In a meeting with @MFA_Russia today, Ambassador John Sullivan demanded that the government of Russia follow international law and basic human decency to allow consular access to all US citizen detainees in Russia, including those in pre-trial detention,” the Embassy said.

“We have repeatedly asked for consular access to American citizen detainees and have consistently and improperly been denied access for months. This is completely unacceptable,” the statement said.

Three US citizens being held by Russia

US basketball star Brittney Griner was arrested last month as she was trying to board her flight to New York. Russian authorities said she was in possession of liquid with hashish oil, but US officials have so far been denied access to Griner.

A source familiar with the matter said that a Russian lawyer had recently visited her and delivered a federal privacy law form.

Paul Whelan, another high-profile detainee, has been in Russian prisons since 2018. The former US Marine is being held on so-called espionage charges and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Trevor Reed, also a former US Marine, was arrested in 2019 and accused of assaulting police officers while drunk on a visit. He was sentenced to nine years in jail

Read more: Unchecked Russia invasion could lead to ‘bloodshed’ in Africa: US, UK, Norway

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