Russia cancels meeting with top US diplomat due to new sanctions against Moscow

June 21, 2017 10:30 pm

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister

has canceled a high-level meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Undersecretary of State in response to Washington’s new sanctions against Moscow.
Ryabkov, in a statement posted on the site of Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, accused the United States of failing to propose anything tangible to improve relations.
“Previous multiple waves of American sanctions haven’t achieved the result which their initiators had hoped for. Any new attempts to make Russia ‘bow down’ will be just as futile,” the Russian official stated.
The statement also said the move “is a continuation of the trend set by the Obama administration aimed at ruining relations between our countries.” It referred to the administration of former US President Barack Obama.  
The sanctions seriously undermine Washington’s assertions that it wants dialogue with Moscow, the statement said.
The Russian diplomat was meant to be meeting Shannon in St. Petersburg on Friday to discuss “problems in bilateral ties.”
Ryabkov has also called the new sanctions a “political gift” to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who was on a visit to the United States on Tuesday.
Washington recently added 38 individuals and organizations to its list of those sanctioned over alleged Russian activities in Ukraine.

US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon (Photo by AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin also recently warned that the new sanctions by the Senate against Russia will complicate relations between the two countries.
Meanwhile, the US State Department said it regretted the cancellation.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, in a statement, accused Russia of violating the sovereignty of Ukraine.
“Let’s remember that these sanctions didn’t just come out of nowhere. Our targeted sanctions were imposed in response to Russia’s ongoing violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbor, Ukraine,” she said.
The sanctions were approved by the Senate on Thursday by 98 to 2, but it still needs to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by US President Donald Trump to become law.
The bans bill mainly affect firms cooperating with Russian oil and gas companies, including BASF, Shell, Engie, OMV, Wintershall, and Uniper, taking part in the Nord Stream 2 project.
American policymakers are considering the new round of sanctions in an attempt to punish Russia for alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and for backing the government in Damascus since the crisis in Syria started in March 2011.
Trump has been a staunch supporter of improving relations with the United States’ former Cold War foe.
The intelligence community, however, has concluded that Russia played a role in the presidential election held last November.
Russia and the West have been imposing sanctions against each other since the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea rejoined the Russian Federation in 2014.
While the West’s economic and financial sanctions harmed Russian exports, Moscow retaliated by banning imports of Western food and barred some individuals from entering Russia.
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