- The Washington Times - Friday, October 6, 2017

Ambassador Jon Huntsman said Friday that the relationship with Russia is “at an all-time low.”

“It’s really unfortunate that the Russians made the decision that they did, to cut, substantially cut, our diplomatic presence in Russia. We all know that we’re facing difficult times — probably the most difficult period in the relationship since the end of the cold war,” Mr. Huntsman said on Fox News, referring to Russia’s reaction to new U.S. sanctions earlier this year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered over 700 U.S. diplomatic staff members to leave Russia in wake of the new sanctions passed as a punishment for Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The newly sworn in U.S. ambassador to Russia said the ongoing investigations of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is separate from the diplomatic relationship he’d like to develop.

“You have to understand that there is a political track that people read about in the newspapers on a regular basis that will play out as it will. Then there’s another track that has to do with the bilateral relationship, the country-to-country aspects of the United States and Russia,” Mr. Huntsman said, emphasizing that the two countries have worked “hand in hand” during difficult times before.

He said the most difficult part of his new role will be delivering tangible results.

“The last thing I want to tell the president, or the secretary of state, or secretary of defense in the months and years ahead is, we did our very best sir, but we didn’t get anywhere. I think the taxpayers expect more than that,” Mr. Huntsman said.

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