The move highlights the growing tensions between Moscow and Washington, as Biden has taken a more confrontational approach than his predecessor Donald Trump towards Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.
Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said on Wednesday that Anatoly Antonov, Moscow’s ambassador to the United States, had been summoned to his home for talks on “preventing an irreversible deterioration of relations “.
The decision was leaked after US intelligence released an unclassified report concluding that Putin authorized “influence operations” intended to support Trump’s bid for re-election in the 2020 presidential campaign and to harm in Biden.
The Biden administration also criticized the detention of Alexei Navalny, the Russian dissident, and supported protesters demanding his release. In an interview with ABC on Wednesday, Biden said Putin would “pay the price” for his interference in the election and replied “Yes” when asked if he thought Putin was “a killer.”
A State Department spokesperson said he was “aware of Moscow’s recent decision to recall its ambassador to the United States.” They added that Washington was “determined to open channels of communication with the Russian government, both to advance American interests and reduce the risk of miscalculations between our countries.”
The State Department spokesman said there were no plans to respond by recalling John Sullivan, the US ambassador to Russia.
“The work he and the rest of the dedicated US diplomats do in Russia every day is vital to advancing US interests and our bilateral relationship,” the spokesperson said.
The United States is considering imposing additional sanctions on Russia in response to Navalny’s detention, election interference and the hack of SolarWinds – a massive cyberespionage campaign directed against the U.S. government and corporate America.
These new measures are expected to be announced by the White House in the coming days, said two people familiar with the matter.
“Our relationship will be different. We will be direct, we will speak out on the areas that concern us, and. . . Russia will certainly be held responsible for the actions it undertakes, ”Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, told reporters on Wednesday. “We’ll have more on this soon.”
Additional reporting by Lauren Fedor in Washington