US-Russia relations 'can’t get any worse’ – Moscow
US President Joe Biden’s latest remark indicating his unwillingness to negotiate with his Russian counterpart is unlikely to further worsen an already dire global security situation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. The diplomat noted that Moscow is, however, still open to dialogue, but that no “sensible” offers have so far been forthcoming from Washington.
In an interview with Russia’s Rossiya 24 news channel aired on Thursday, Lavrov was asked whether he thought Biden’s reluctance to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin would further complicate tensions in the international arena.
“It doesn’t complicate [it] at all, because the state of affairs as it stands today has already been driven, first of all by the US, to such a condition that it can’t get any worse, in my opinion,” the Russian minister replied.
The diplomat pointed out at the same time that Moscow is not shunning dialogue with Washington. According to Lavrov, Russia has “never rejected a single earnest, sensible offer to hold contacts.” However, “no one is putting forth sensible initiatives,” he added.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that president Biden “has no intention of meeting with President Putin.”
The statement echoed a remark made by the US head of state to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday.
“Look, I have no intention of meeting with him,” Biden said, when asked about his plans for the upcoming G20 summit in Bali.
The US president went on to add, however, that “if [Putin] came to me at the G20 and said ‘I want to talk about the release of Griner,’ I’d meet with him. I mean, it would depend.”
Brittney Griner is America’s Women’s National Basketball Association star and Olympic gold medalist who was detained at a Moscow airport in February and later sentenced to nine years in prison by a Russian court on drug-possession charges.
Presidents Biden and Putin have not spoken to each other directly since before Russia launched its military campaign against Ukraine in late February.
Lavrov had made it clear earlier that Moscow would consider such talks should it receive a proposal from Washington.