U.S. ambassador returns to Moscow after leaving amid crisis in ties

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan returned to Moscow on Thursday after leaving the country in April amid a diplomatic crisis, as relations improve slightly in the wake of last week's leaders' summit.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on June 16 for talks that both leaders described as pragmatic, but not friendly. Political ties are badly strained.

"Arrived back in Moscow today," Sullivan said, in a comment shared on Twitter by the U.S. Embassy spokesperson. "Ready to work with... Russia on our goal of a stable and predictable relationship between our countries."

The envoy said the two powers should be "open and frank" with each other on issues where they disagree, in earlier comments to the Interfax news agency.

"We should cooperate where it is in our mutual interest, and where we have disagreements - and we have significant disagreements - it is important to have an open and frank dialogue," Interfax cited Sullivan as saying.

Sullivan left Moscow in April, saying he was travelling to Washington for consultations, four days after the Kremlin suggested that the United States recall him amid a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

Russia had previously recalled its own ambassador to Washington after Biden said he thought Putin was a "killer", and the two countries imposed sanctions on each other.

Russia's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, flew back to Washington earlier this week.

(Writing by Polina Ivanova and Tom Balmforth; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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