WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior U.S. diplomat David Hale met with Russia’s deputy overseas minister, Sergei Ryabkov, in Helsinki on Wednesday to debate U.S.-Russian relations, the State Division mentioned, amid tensions between the 2 international locations over a variety of points.
Russian and U.S. state flags fly in Vsevolozhsk, Leningrad Area, Russia March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
The assembly between Hale, who’s undersecretary for political affairs, and Ryabkov adopted June 28 talks between President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
U.S.-Russia ties stay strained by every part from Syria to Ukraine in addition to allegations of Russian interference in U.S. politics, which Moscow denies. In a latest tv interview, Putin mentioned relations have been “getting worse and worse.”
“The below Secretary pressured that whereas the US seeks to slim variations and foster cooperation with Russia on various international challenges, Russia’s unfavorable actions proceed to be a barrier for progress in our bilateral relationship,” the division’s spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, mentioned in an announcement.
With out elaborating, she mentioned the 2 had additionally mentioned regional challenges in Europe, the Center East and Asia.
Ryabkov informed Russian information companies that he and Hale mentioned Venezuela however failed to seek out frequent floor. Russia and China are staunch allies of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whereas most Western powers have backed opposition chief Juan Guaido.
“I mentioned Venezuela with Hale, the dialogue on this subject was tough,” RIA information company quoted Ryabkov as saying on Wednesday.
“There is no such thing as a frequent floor with the U.S. on Venezuela to date. Russia doesn’t have army forces in Venezuela. We aren’t quitting a dialogue. Russia must ship its specialists to Venezuela periodically however it gained’t report back to the U.S. on that,” RIA reported Ryabkov as saying.
Russian information company TASS quoted Ryabkov as saying the assembly didn’t focus on an change of Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine held in Russia on spying expenses that he denies.
“We indicated that we’re able to change people who find themselves serving sentence within the U.S. and Russia. Paul Whelan is just not amongst them as a result of there is no such thing as a verdict but in his case,” Ryabkov mentioned, based on TASS.
Moscow this month proposed a prisoner swap, calling on Washington to free Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko. The information fueled hypothesis that Moscow is searching for a prisoner change involving Whelan.
Yaroshenko is serving 20 years in the US for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the nation. He was arrested by U.S. particular forces in Liberia in 2010.
Reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington and Maria Tsvetkova in Moscow; Enhancing by Peter Cooney