Russia's ambassador to Washington has been recalled to Moscow for "consultations" to determine how to move forward with its relations with the U.S., the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
Why it matters: The news came hours after an interview aired in which President Biden agreed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a "killer," and pledged to hold the Kremlin accountable for interfering in the 2020 election.
- Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova did not provide specific reasons for the recall of Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, but said relations with the U.S. "are in a difficult state, which Washington has brought to a dead end in recent years."
- “We are interested in preventing their irreversible degradation, if the Americans are aware of the associated risks,” Zakharova added.
The big picture: The U.S. intelligence community released a report on Tuesday assessing that Putin authorized influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden and supporting former President Trump in the 2020 election. The Kremlin has denied the allegations.
- The U.S. also recently sanctioned seven senior Russian officials for the attempted poisoning and imprisonment of opposition activist Alexey Navalny, who has been transferred to a penal colony amid calls for his release by Western leaders.