Russia tells U.S. envoy that relations are ‘on the verge of rupture’

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech throughout a live performance marking the eighth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia March 18, 2022.

Alexander Vilf | Reuters

The Russian Ministry of International Affairs stated it summoned U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan on Monday in Moscow to formally protest President Joe Biden’s resolution final week to label Russian President Vladimir Putin a “conflict felony.”

Sullivan was instructed that Biden’s accusation had put “Russian-American relations on the verge of rupture,” based on an announcement from the International Ministry translated by NBC Information.

Biden stated Wednesday that he believes Putin “is a conflict felony” for ordering Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. It was the primary time Biden had publicly branded Putin with that phrase.

Biden’s remark got here hours Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and different prime officers met nearly with the Worldwide Legal Court docket’s prime prosecutor, who two weeks in the past opened an investigation into attainable conflict crimes by Russia.

A State Division spokesperson didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark Monday from CNBC.

However the U.S. Embassy in Moscow tweeted that Sullivan met with Russian diplomats as a way to demand consular entry to U.S. residents detained in Russia, “together with these in pre-trial detention.”

American WNBA star participant Brittney Griner is at present being held in pretrial detention outdoors Moscow on allegations of smuggling medicine. The American Embassy didn’t point out Griner by identify in its tweet.

Sullivan is a Trump-era appointee whom the U.S. president requested to remain on at the beginning of Biden’s time period in 2021.

The diplomatic breakdown comes as Russia nears the one-month level in its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, launched Feb 24.

An preliminary Russian infantry advance has largely stalled outdoors of the nation’s main cities amid fierce Ukrainian resistance. This has pressured the Kremlin to shift ways from a fast land conflict to a battle of attrition marked by the shelling of residential areas in an effort to put on down and demoralize the nation.

White Home press secretary Jen Psaki later stated Biden was talking from his coronary heart about what he has seen on the information in regards to the “barbaric actions by a brutal dictator.”

Psaki famous there’s a separate authorized course of to find out whether or not Putin has violated worldwide regulation and dedicated conflict crimes. That course of at present is underway on the State Division, she stated.

Whereas the formal course of proceeds slowly, prime officers within the Biden administration have brazenly alleged that Putin is a conflict felony and that Russia is committing conflict crimes in Ukraine.

At some point after Biden’s remark, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated, “Personally, I agree” with the president’s evaluation of Putin.

“Deliberately focusing on civilians is a conflict crime. After all of the destruction of the previous three weeks, I discover it tough to conclude that the Russians are doing in any other case,” stated Blinken.

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