US-Russia Relations In "Ice Age" & Risk Of Direct Clash "High": Kremlin
Russia's ambassador to the United States issued a statement Friday assessing the state of Moscow-Washington relations as having entered an "ice age" - according to state-owned TASS.
Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said that currently the risk of a direct clash between the US and Russia remains "high" - after the foreign ministry on Thursday again charged that the Biden administration is fueling a "proxy war" in Ukraine.
Antonov acknowledged that strategic dialogue between the two sides is on pause, and that it's hard to know when they'll resume, but cited as a rare positive the recent prisoner swaps.
As The Independent reviews of his words in reference to the swaps:
However, Mr Antonov said that talks on prisoner swaps had been "effective" and would continue. Two prisoner swaps, in which US Marine veteran Trevor Reed and basketball star Brittney Griner have been freed by Russia since April in return for convicted drug smuggler Konstantin Yaroshenko and arms dealer Viktor Bout.
A key major development which could fuel escalation is the White House decision to send Patriot anti-air missile defense systems.
President Vladimir Putin was quick to condemn the development but still downplayed the Patriots as "quite old" - saying that his forces would counter it.
Putin also hinted at a future negotiated settlement, saying: "Our goal is not to spin the flywheel of military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war."
In the fresh remarks coming at the end of the week, he said further: "We will strive for an end to this and the sooner the better, of course," and that "All armed conflicts end one way or another with some kind of negotiations on the diplomatic track."
"Sooner or later, any parties in a state of conflict sit down and make an agreement. The sooner this realization comes to those who oppose us, the better. We have never given up on this."
But the Biden administration has said Moscow has shown "zero" interest in pursuing peace negotiations, also as it's being reported that the Ukrainian government is preparing a serious offer for ceasefire.