The measures, part of a broader retaliatory package, were approved by President Vladimir Putin, as a response to an array of US government sanctions imposed on Moscow a day earlier, including curbs to its sovereign debt market. Though Moscow responded swiftly and with measures designed to hurt US interests and shrink its diplomatic footprint, it left the door open for dialogue and did not kill off the idea, proposed by President Joe Biden, of a Putin-Biden summit. Dr Neil Melvin, director of International security studies at RUSI, has warned tensions between the US and Russia are at the height of the Cold War.
Speaking to LBC, Dr Melvin said: “US-Russia relations are at their worst since the Cold War.
“These sanctions really are the opening moves in the Biden-Putin relationship in which Biden doesn’t want to repeat the past mistakes of seeming too soft on Russia.
“He’s trying to shore up his credentials and strengthen deterrents.
“But at the same time, he’s not totally closing off dialogue with Russia.
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“Even the sanctions were announced, he suggested to Putin in a separate call to have a summit to manage the relationship.”
Russia-US ties slumped to a new post-Cold War low last month after Biden said he thought Putin was a “killer” and Moscow recalled its ambassador to Washington for consultations.
The envoy has still not returned almost a month later.
The Russian foreign ministry said John Sullivan, the US ambassador to Russia, should return home for consultations too.
It comes as the Kremlin said on Friday that there were fewer ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine where Russian-backed separatists have faced off against Ukrainian government forces since 2014.
But Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said there were not yet grounds to fully relax and signalled Russia, which has massed troops nearby, would continue to watch the situation closely.
Ukraine blames a recent spike in violence in its eastern Donbass region on the Russian-backed separatists.
The leaders of Ukraine, France and Germany are set to hold three-way talks on Friday about the conflict in Donbass that Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people since 2014.