New Russian ambassador to U.S. calls for resumed military contacts

FILE PHOTO: Anatoly Antonov attends a news conference in Moscow, Russia March 5, 2015. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/Files

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow and Washington should re-establish direct contacts between their military and foreign policy chiefs, Russia’s new ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said on Wednesday.

“The time has come to resume joint meetings of Russia’s and the United States’ foreign and defence ministers in a ‘two plus two’ format,” Antonov said in an interview published on the Kommersant business daily’s web site.

Military contacts between Moscow and Washington were frozen in 2014 due to the Ukraine crisis.

Antonov also called for meetings between the heads of Russia’s Federal Security Service and Foreign Intelligence Service and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency.

A “working cooperation” between Russia’s Security Council and the U.S. National Security Council could also help fight terrorism, cyber threats and help strategic stability, he said.

Antonov, a former deputy foreign minister, is subject to European sanctions over his role in the conflict in Ukraine.

(This story has been refiled to remove an extraneous word in first paragraph)

Writing by Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Robin Pomeroy