The Cold War may be a bygone era but even in 2021, US-Russia ties are not in the best of places. A day after newly appointed US President Joe Biden dubbed Vladimir Putin a "killer", Russia withdrew its ambassador to the US.
While the Russian Foreign Ministry had not cited any specific reasons for Anatoly Antonov's return to Moscow, Spokesperson Maria Zakharova noted that relations between the two countries were "in a difficult state". Russia appears to be attributing the strained ties to Washington's actions in recent years. "We are interested in preventing their irreversible degradation, if the Americans are aware of the associated risks," was quoted as adding.
In a television interview aired on Wednesday, Biden was asked whether he thought Putin is a killer. "I do," the President responded.
Speaking about alleged Russian interference in the US Presidential polls, Biden asserted that the Putin would "pay a price".
A day earlier, on Tuesday, a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was declassified. This report says that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised influence operations to help Donald Trump in last November's presidential election.
The detailed report says that while it found broad efforts by the Kremlin and Iran to shape the outcome of the race, there was ultimately no evidence that any foreign actor changed votes or otherwise disrupted the voting process. And while Russia has rejected the report as being "unsubstantiated" it certainly does not help the strained ties between the two nations.
But these are not the only developments when it comes to US-Russia ties. Some time earlier, the US had also imposed sanctions against Biden's administration, which has imposed sanctions over the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is now in prison.
India has also become tangentially involved in the US-Russia narrative with an American Senator on Wednesday urging US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin to take up the issue of sale of Russian S-400 missile system during his visit to India later this week.