United States and Russia

May 14, 2022 | 11:22am
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United States and Russia
May 14, 2022

A senior Pentagon official says the first talks between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu since the Ukraine war began made no progress on key issues despite the US side's call for a ceasefire,

"The call itself didn't specifically solve any acute issues or lead to a direct change in what the Russians are doing or what they are saying," the official tells reporters. — AFP

April 13, 2022

President Joe Biden for the first time accuses Vladimir Putin's forces of committing genocide in Ukraine, where Russia was intensifying its campaign to subdue the devastated port city of Mariupol.

Biden's accusation came as Moscow -- already accused by the West of widespread atrocities against civilians -- was feared to be readying a massive onslaught across Ukraine's east that Washington warned might involve chemical weapons.

"Yes, I called it genocide," Biden tells reporters, hours after employing the term during a speech in Iowa -- its first use by a member of his administration. — AFP

April 9, 2022

US President Joe Biden accuses Russia of carrying out a "horrific atrocity," after a rocket attack on a train station packed with conflict evacuees in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk left at least 50 dead.

More than a month into President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has shifted focus to the east and south of the country after resistance halted plans to swiftly capture the capital Kyiv.

"The attack on a Ukrainian train station is yet another horrific atrocity committed by Russia, striking civilians who were trying to evacuate and reach safety," Biden says on Twitter. — AFP

March 30, 2022

The US State Department issues a travel advisory warning that Moscow "may single out and detain US citizens in Russia" and repeating earlier warnings for Americans not to travel to the country.

The warning was "due to the unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces" as well as the potential for harassment of US citizens by Russian authorities, the travel advisory says, repeating calls for Americans traveling or living in Russia to leave "immediately." — AFP

March 24, 2022

Russia says it was expelling US diplomats in retaliation for Washington's step to remove 12 of Moscow's representatives to the UN based in New York.

"On March 23, a note with the list of the American diplomats declared 'persona non grata' was handed to the head of the American diplomatic mission who was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," the ministry says in a statement.

The decision was taken in response to the expulsion by Washington of Russian diplomats at the UN in New York, the source says. — AFP

January 3, 2022

US President Joe Biden on Sunday reassured his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky that Washington "will respond decisively" if Russia moves to invade its pro-Western neighbor, the White House said in a statement.

With a Russian military buildup on Ukraine's borders, Biden "made clear" to Zelensky during a phone call that the "United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

The show of US support for Ukraine comes days after Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin of severe consequences if Moscow launches a military invasion. — AFP

December 30, 2021

Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will speak by telephone Thursday amid high tension on Ukraine ahead of US-Russia security talks next month, the White House said.

It will be the second telephone call in less than a month between the two leaders, with Biden in early December warning Putin of "severe consequences" if Russia invades Ukraine.

Biden, who is at his home in Delaware for the New Year's holiday, will speak to Putin on Thursday about "a range of topics, including upcoming diplomatic engagements with Russia," said Emily Horne, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

"The Biden administration continues to engage in extensive diplomacy with our European allies and partners, consulting and coordinating on a common approach in response to Russia's military build-up on the border with Ukraine," she said in a statement Wednesday. — AFP

December 29, 2021

Washington condemns the closure by Russia's Supreme Court of the prominent rights group Memorial International, calling it an "affront" to human rights.

"The persecution of International Memorial and Memorial Human Rights Center is an affront to their noble missions and to the cause of human rights everywhere," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says in a statement, referring to the group's sister organization that also risks closure.  

The decision, he adds, "follows a year of rapidly shrinking space for independent civil society, media, and pro-democracy activists in Russia." — AFP

December 7, 2021

The United States will impose "severe economic harm" on Russia and boost its military presence in Eastern Europe should Moscow invade Ukraine, the White House warned Monday, laying out the high stakes on the eve of talks between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin.

Ahead of his virtual meeting with Putin, Biden also spoke with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Britain on Monday, after which the western powers expressed their "determination" that Ukraine's sovereignty be respected.

The US president will also quickly inform his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky of the details of his discussion with Putin, taking place by videoconference Tuesday, as tens of thousands of Russian troops were positioned near the Ukraine border, a senior US official told reporters.

The official said the White House does not know if Putin has made a decision to launch his military forces against Ukraine — and stopped short of threatening direct intervention of American military force should he do so.

But Biden will make clear that there "will be genuine and meaningful and enduring costs to choosing to go forward should (Russia) choose to go forward with a military escalation," the official said, on grounds of anonymity. — AFP

July 15, 2021

The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin told US climate envoy John Kerry that Moscow and Washington have a shared interest in battling climate change,in a rare area of common ground between the rivals.

"The climate problem is one of the areas where Russia and the United States have common interests and similar approaches," Putin said in a phone call with Kerry who is visiting Moscow, the Kremlin says in a statement. 

Putin told the former secretary of state that Moscow "attaches great importance" to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and "advocates de-politicising" dialogue on climate change. — AFP 

July 10, 2021

US President Joe Biden once again tells his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to "take action" against ransomware hackers operating from Russia, but the Kremlin gave little sign of listening.

The White House said Biden and Putin spoke for about an hour by phone, focusing on the ransomware threat and separately about allowing humanitarian aid into Syria, where Russia is the main supporter of the Assad regime.

Talking to reporters, Biden says he "made it very clear" to Putin that "we expect them to act" against ransomware gangs. — AFP

June 16, 2021

US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin shook hands in Geneva on Wednesday at the start of their first summit, with tensions at their highest in years.

The two men shook hands after standing with their host, Swiss President Guy Parmelin, outside the La Grange villa overlooking Lake Geneva, where they are set to meet for up to five hours, with cyberattacks, election meddling and rights abuses among the many contentious issues on the agenda. —  AFP

June 13, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced hope Friday that US President Joe Biden will be less impulsive than his predecessor Donald Trump, ahead of his first summit with the new US leader.

In an interview with NBC News, Putin described Biden as a "career man" who has spent his life in politics.

Though he described relations with the United States as having "deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years," Putin said he expects he can work with Biden. —  AFP

May 20, 2021

The US and Russian foreign ministers sought to ease tensions in their first meeting since US President Joe Biden took office, saying they were ready to cooperate but acknowledging the wide gulf between the rival powers.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised the talks in Reykjavik on Wednesday, aimed in part at confirming a potential summit between presidents Biden and Vladimir Putin, as "constructive".

"There is an understanding of the need to overcome the unhealthy situation in ties between Moscow and Washington," Lavrov told reporters, although he added there were "a lot of logjams".  — AFP

January 22, 2021

US President Joe Biden on Thursday proposed a five-year extension with Russia of New START, days before the expiration of the last nuclear reduction treaty between the two powers, but vowed to press Moscow hard on a host of concerns.

The announcement on the first full day of Biden's presidency is intended to prevent a nuclear arms race but makes clear he will not attempt a "reset" of relations as attempted in varying forms by every post-Cold War president.

The treaty, which has limited the United States and Russia to 1,550 nuclear warheads each, expires on February 5 after negotiations stagnated under former president Donald Trump.

Russian President Vladimir Putin himself had offered Trump a five-year extension, the maximum allowed under the treaty that was signed in 2010 in Prague by former president Barack Obama.

"The United States intends to seek a five-year extension of New START, as the treaty permits," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

"This extension makes even more sense when the relationship with Russia is adversarial as it is at this time," she said. — AFP

January 18, 2021

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday the United States "strongly condemns" the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who was detained when returning to Russia for the first time since his poisoning last summer.

"The United States strongly condemns Russia's decision to arrest Aleksey Navalny," Pompeo said in a statement.

"We note with grave concern that his detention is the latest in a series of attempts to silence Navalny and other opposition figures and independent voices who are critical of Russian authorities."

Navalny was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport less than an hour after he flew in from Germany, where he had been recovering from the poisoning with a nerve agent he says was ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

The US joined the European Union in condemning the move, with Pompeo saying that "Navalny is not the problem. We demand his immediate and unconditional release." — AFP

December 19, 2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that Russia was behind the devastating cyberattack on several US government agencies that also hit targets worldwide.

"There was a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed code inside of US government systems," Pompeo tells The Mark Levin Show.

"This was a very significant effort, and I think it's the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity." — AFP

October 26, 2020

Despite failing to realize the Kremlin's hopes of spearheading a new era in US-Russia ties, US President Donald Trump is still Moscow's preferred candidate in the US election over his rival Joe Biden, analysts say.

Russia had high hopes for Trump when he was elected in 2016, at a time its relations with the West were swiftly deteriorating under the presidency of Barack Obama.

According to US intelligence, Moscow went as far as boosting Trump's campaign, in particular by launching hacking attacks against the Democratic Party.

And on Wednesday, the US director of national intelligence accused Russia and Iran of obtaining US voter information and taking actions to influence public opinion in next month's vote — accusations the Kremlin dismissed as "completely groundless." — AFP

September 28, 2019

Russia urges the United States not to publish Donald Trump's conversations with Vladimir Putin after a growing scandal led the White House to release a transcript from a call with Ukraine's leader.

"As for transcripts of phone conversations, my mother when bringing me up said that reading other people's letters is inappropriate," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov tells reporters at the United Nations.

"It is indecent," he says. "For two people elected by their nations to be at the helm, there are diplomatic manners that suppose a certain level of confidentiality."

August 23, 2019

Russia and the US trade accusations at the United Nations of risking a new arms race as China said it would play no part in any new missile deal.

The United States and Moscow ditched the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty after blaming each other for violating the accord.

Deputy Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy tells the Security Council that Washington's testing of a ground-launched missile earlier this week showed "America is ready for an arms race." — AFP

June 29, 2019

Foreign ministers from the United States and Russia will begin talks over nuclear arms control but it may not lead to an extension of the START3 nuclear disarmament treaty, President Vladimir Putin says.

"We have charged our respective foreign ministers with starting consultations on this subject... but we can not yet say whether this will lead to an extension of START3," Putin tells reporters after a G20 summit in Osaka.

Putin did not say when talks would begin.

START3 refers to a proposed agreement between the two nuclear powers for which negotiations broke down years ago. — AFP

June 28, 2019

US President Donald Trump hails his "very, very good relationship" with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as the two leaders held talks on the sidelines of the G20 meeting.

"It's a great honour to be with President Putin," says Trump, who last held face-to-face talks with the Russian leader in Helsinki in 2018.

"We have a very, very good relationship," Trump says.

The keenly awaited meeting between the pair has been overshadowed by a probe into Trump's relations with Russia and the controversy that erupted the last time he held talks with the Kremlin leader. — AFP

June 8, 2019

Russia and the United States accuse each other of dangerous maneuvers after their naval ships came close to collision in the East China Sea.

Russia's Pacific Fleet says that the USS Chancellorsville guided-missile cruiser suddenly cut across the course of its Admiral Vinogradov anti-submarine ship, passing in front of it at a distance of just 50 meters (164 feet).

The Russian ship had to carry out an emergency maneuver to avoid collision, the navy said, adding that it had sent a message of protest to the US cruiser's commanders.

May 4, 2019

President Donald Trump says he held "very positive" talks Friday with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the crisis in oil-rich Venezuela, where Washington is pushing to oust the Moscow-backed president.

The US leader adopted a strikingly conciliatory tone following a more than hour-long conversation with Putin, coming days after an abortive military uprising in support of Juan Guaido, the opposition leader seeking to drive Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from power. — AFP

February 20, 2019

The Trump administration announces it was nominating a successor to deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, a move that confirms the departure of the Justice Department official who until recently oversaw the Russia probe.

Rosenstein will be replaced by Jeffrey Rosen, the current deputy secretary of the Department of Transportation, President Donald Trump's spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. The decision is subject to confirmation in the Senate. — AFP

February 1, 2019

Russia says it regretted Washington's expected exit from a key arms control treaty and expected to receive formal notice from the United States shortly.

Russia and the US have over the past months held discussions to rescue the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty but say efforts have led nowhere. — AFP

January 31, 2019

Moscow and Washington have made "no progress" in talks on saving a key arms control treaty, a Russian diplomat says, with the United States expected to begin withdrawal this weekend.

Russian and US officials had met on the sidelines of a meeting of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in Beijing to discuss the fate of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) -- a source of raging tensions between Moscow and Washington. — AFP

January 31, 2019

The U.S. has called for other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The call by Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Andrea Thompson in Beijing comes as the U.S. is preparing to withdraw from a separate pact, the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and the former Soviet Union.  AFP

January 16, 2019

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Moscow was ready to work with Washington to save a key arms control treaty, after fresh talks to salvage the accord went nowhere.

"We are still ready to work to save the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty," Lavrov says, calling on Europe to help in the negotiations. — AFP

November 28, 2018

Russia says it still expects a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump to go ahead as planned.

Trump, in an interview, says he may cancel the sit-down with Putin in Argentina following Russia's seizure of three Ukrainian naval ships last weekend. — AP

November 28, 2018

US President Donald Trump has said he may cancel a long-awaited summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin after a confrontation at sea between Russia and Ukraine led Kiev to warn of the threat of "full-scale war".

Trump is scheduled to meet Putin at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires at the end of this week, but warned it would depend on the results of a report being prepared by his national security advisers about Russia's seizure of three Ukrainian ships.

September 1, 2018

A senior Justice Department lawyer says a former British spy told him at a breakfast meeting two years ago that Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump "over a barrel," according to multiple people familiar with the encounter.

The lawyer, Bruce Ohr, also says he learned that a Trump campaign aide had met with higher-level Russian officials than the aide had acknowledged, the people said. — AP

August 9, 2018

The Kremlin slams as "unacceptable" US sanctions over Moscow's alleged involvement in a nerve agent attack in Britain, but says Russia still hopes for constructive relations with Washington. 

"We consider categorically unacceptable the linking of new restrictions, which we as before consider illegal, to the case in Salisbury," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells journalists, referring to the nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal, adding that "Moscow retains hopes of building constructive relations with Washington."

Follow this thread for updates on US-Russia relations.

Photo: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland, May 19, 2021, on the sidelines of the Arctic Council Ministerial summit. SAUL LOEB / POOL / AFP

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