American Companies Want to Stay and Expand in Russia: U.S. Ambassador

American companies operating in Russia are planning to continue their work in the country and even to expand their businesses despite U.S. sanctions against Moscow, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. said Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting with students and teachers in the southern city of Kazan, Huntsman said that representatives of American companies shared their plans for staying in the Russian market during a recent dinner hosted by the ambassador.

“The sanctions provide from events that transpired a year and a half ago, based on the legislation that was signed in my country in early August of last year, and we are still feeling the effects of some of that. Meanwhile, you have many American businesses that are doing well in the market here, they are successful… I had dinner with many leaders from very prominent American businesses who have plans to grow here in Russia, Huntsman was quoted as saying by pro-government agency Sputnik.

The diplomat added that there were many areas in which cooperation between the two countries continued, noting that problems in the bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington would always exist, but it was necessary to resolve them gradually.

“The sanctions are there for underlying political reasons and challenges that we have in our relationships… and as soon as those underlying issues are addressed, then I think we will see more progress. That is why I am somewhat optimistic about 2018 because I think 2018 could be a year where we end the year on a higher note,” the ambassador said answering a question about when the anti-Russia sanctions would be lifted.

The U.S. imposed sanctions against Russia in response to allegations that Moscow sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the allegations, calling them groundless.