Too many businesses have left the country since the Ukraine crisis began, John Sullivan says
Business relations between the US and Russia have been damaged over the past months due to the conflict in Ukraine, and it may take years to rebuild the links between the two countries, US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said in an interview with TASS, published on Monday.
“Commercial relations between the US and Russia were one of the last major links between our two countries. That has been completely wrecked. And my fear… even if our governments could reconcile the enormous gap that now exists between us, is that it is going to take a long time to reestablish the commercial relationships,” he said.
The ambassador noted that it took the two countries several decades to build trade relations, and, while expressing hope that the moment for reconciliation will come sooner rather than later, this may not happen during his lifetime nor “in the current environment,” as too many business ties have been severed and too many US companies left Russia despite “swearing that they [would] never leave Russia.”
“[It will take] years, if not longer. For businesses – it’s going to take a long time. And that’s when people are in a position to want it, and right now they are leaving, so we’re not even thinking about that,” Sullivan said.
The envoy added that apart from companies, US residents are also leaving Russia, many of them members of the US business community that have lived in Russia for decades. This would also make it difficult to mend relations.
Overall, Sullivan called it a tragedy that Russia and the US currently discuss only a fraction of the issues that are on the agenda, but reiterated US President Joe Biden’s stance that there will be no business as usual with Russia in the foreseeable future.
Washington placed an unprecedented number of sanctions on Moscow after Russia launched an offensive in Ukraine earlier this year, including export controls, asset freezes, financial and trade restrictions, a ban on investments, targeted sanctions against Russia’s entrepreneurs, banks and businesses. These measures prompted an exodus of approximately 1,000 US and multinational businesses from the country so far and virtually took away Russia’s ability to conduct international transactions. Russia retaliated with countermeasures and vowed to boost interaction with its other international partners in Asia and Africa.
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