John Sullivan estimates that it will be “years” before commercial exchanges between the two countries return to their previous levels.
Commercial relations between Russia and the US are currently “torn apart” due to the conflict in Ukraine, the US ambassador in Moscow, John Sullivan, lamented this Monday in an exclusive interview with TASS. “I always said that trade relations between the US and Russia were one of the last great links that connected our countries. All of this is now shattered. I fear that even if our governments can close the huge gap that has opened up between us, it will take a long time to restore trade relations,” he said.
To illustrate the radical change in the landscape, Sullivan commented that he used to meet with representatives of the US Chamber of Commerce, a pressure group that is not part of the country’s government, once every two weeks.After the start of the Russian operation in Ukraine, only one meeting has been held by videoconference.“There is no longer anyone to meet”, summed up the head of the US diplomatic mission.
The ambassador maintained that it took “tens of years” to build business ties up to the pre-conflict level, when US companies hired “thousands of people” in Russia. Now it will be “years” before activities go back to what they were, he estimated. “And that will be when people are in a position to want it. Right now they are leaving, so we don’t even think about it,” he considered.
Con everything, finally there will be, he said, “a greater reconciliation and a greater rapprochement” between both nations, something that already happened in the late eighties: “I would not predict that Russia and the US will never again have a productive relationship. But what I cannot say is how long it will take to build it.”
For now, he reaffirmed what President Biden said, in the sense that Washington does not interact with Moscow on a regular basis since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. Sullivan stressed that the US and Russia currently have “few issues to discuss.”