New US ambassador to Moscow meets with Russian deputy FM

MOSCOW (AP) — New U.S. ambassador to Moscow Lynne Tracy on Monday met with a Russian deputy foreign minister, officials said.

Tracy arrived in Moscow last week, taking up her post amid high tensions over Russia’s military actions in Ukraine and U.S. support for Ukraine including President Joe Biden’s recent decision to provide advanced battle tanks. Russia accuses Washington of engaging in a proxy war with Moscow.

A U.S. Embassy statement did not give details of what Tracy discussed with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

It said she “begins her tenure in Moscow focused on maintaining dialogue between our capitals at a time of unprecedented tension. She will also be an advocate for the safety and fair treatment of all U.S. citizens detained in Russia.”

Paul Whelan, a corporate security director and former Marine, was arrested in Russia four years ago and is serving a 16-year sentence after being convicted of espionage. The Biden administration considers him to be wrongfully detained, but was unable to secure his release last year in a swap that freed American basketball star Brittney Griner in exchange for arms trader Viktor Bout.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that “during the conversation on some topical issues of bilateral relations, which have sharply aggravated recently due to Washington’s fault, the counterproductiveness of the current U.S. confrontational course … was pointed out to the head of the American diplomatic mission.”

“The Russian side expects the ambassador to strictly follow the requirements of Russian laws … observe our norms and customs, and adhere to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of the host country,” the ministry said.

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