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The Current State of US-Russian Relations with Ambassador Kislyak

Russian-American relations are tense but not unsalvageable, said Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. The ambassador discussed his country’s positions on various global issues and explained, in Russia’s view, why relations between the two countries are deteriorating.

Speaking to a crowded room full of students and alumni, Kislyak cited NATO’s expansion, differing views of Ukraine and Syria, and economic sanctions as sources of conflict that have pitted Russia and the US against each other. However, Russians and Americans have been able to work together in tense moments before, and Kislyak believes that our cooperation can be extended and strengthened in areas where it already exists, such as the global fight against terrorism.

Questions from the audience focused on current Russian involvement in Ukraine, Russia’s position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the protection of minority rights in Russia and Crimea, and Russia’s involvement in the US presidential election.

Ambassador Kislyak currently serves as the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States, and previously as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2008. Prior to that, he served simultaneously as the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Kingdom of Belgium and as the Permanent Representative of Russia to NATO in Brussels, Belgium, from 1998-2003.Ambassador Kislyak has worked in the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation since 1997, including a variety of high-level positions. He graduated from Moscow Engineering Physics Institute in 1973, as well as from the USSR Academy of Foreign Trade in 1977.

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