The Russian government has summoned the United States (U.S.) ambassador to Moscow for a meeting to provide him a “note of protest” over President Joe Biden’s criticisms of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The tough statement from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that that relations between Moscow and the U.S. could be completely severed because of Biden’s remarks and steps by the U.S. government to punish Russia over its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
“It is emphasised that such statements by the American president, unworthy of a statesman of such a high rank, put Russian-American relations on the verge of breaking,” the statement read, according to an English translation. “They warned that hostile actions taken against Russia would receive a decisive and firm rebuff.”
Biden has in recent days called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal,” a “thug” and a “murderous dictator” because of the atrocities committed by Russian forces during their nearly four-week military invasion of Ukraine.
The Russia statement said it had summoned U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan and handed him a “note of protest” over the “unacceptable statements.”
State Department spokesperson Ned Price later confirmed to reporters that Sullivan met Russian officials and said the ambassador raised the cases of U.S. citizens detained in Russia.
“Ambassador Sullivan took advantage of this encounter to demand that the Russian government follow international law, and basic human decency for that matter, and allow consular access to all U.S. citizen detainees in Russia, including those in pretrial detention,” Price said during a briefing, declining to characterize the message that the Kremlin sent to Sullivan.