After a meeting held between Russia and the United States on Tuesday, no major progress has been made for resolving a row over the size and functioning of their embassies, said Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
The talks were held in Moscow between Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.
Both countries are in a dispute over the number of diplomats they can post to each other's capitals, however Moscow also acknowledged that it was willing to lift restrictions imposed in recent years.
"I cannot say that we have achieved great progress," said Ryabkov. "There is a risk of a further sharpening of tensions”, he also added as quoted by Interfax news agency.
However, at a briefing U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that Nuland's meetings with Russian officials have been "useful," while adding that U.S. stance on the staffing of U.S. missions in Russia remained "firm."
"We expect parity on staffing numbers and we expect visa reciprocity. There must be fairness, there must be flexibility on the Russian side, if we are to achieve an equitable agreement and that's precisely what we are after," he said.
He said there will be another round of talks at a lower level to find a resolution to the ongoing dispute. "We need an adequately staffed embassy in Moscow," he said.
Last week the Russian foreign ministry said a U.S. congressional proposal to expel 300 Russian diplomats from the United States would lead to the closure of U.S. diplomatic facilities in Russia, if implemented.
U.S. senators urged President Joe Biden to remove the Russian diplomats because U.S. Embassy staff had left with only about 100 diplomats in Russia compared with 400 Russians in the United States.
"It was emphasized on the Russian side that hostile anti-Russian actions would not remain unanswered, but Moscow did not seek further escalation," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement.
"We propose to remove all restrictions that have been introduced on both sides over the past few years."
Nuland’s visit comes at a time when relations between Washington and Moscow are badly affected over some issues, including cyberattacks launched from Russia against U.S. businesses and the jailing of Alexei Navalny.
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