Russia Cancels US Diplomatic Visit Amidst Rising Tensions

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, walks past an honour guard before a meeting with his Brazilian counterpart Michel Temer at the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia, June 21, 2017. (Sergei Karpukhin/AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, walks past an honour guard before a meeting with his Brazilian counterpart Michel Temer at the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia, June 21, 2017. (Sergei Karpukhin/AP)

Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov canceled an upcoming meeting with the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., according to AP, in retaliation to the Trump administration’s announcement on Tuesday that it has imposed sanctions on 38 Russian individuals and firms over Russian activities in Ukraine.

Ryabkov said that “the situation is not conducive to holding a round of this dialogue” that was scheduled for Friday and criticized the U.S. for “not having offered and not offering anything specific” to discuss.

“We have said from the very beginning of Washington’s exceptionally destructive policy in regard to applying anti-Russia sanctions, that [such measures] will not and cannot have an effect desired by the US on our individuals or entities,” Ryabkov told  RIA Novosti Tuesday.

The decision to widen the list came as President Trump met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the White House.

Shannon, who is currently meeting with United Kingdom officials in London, was set to meet with Ryabkov in St. Petersburg on Friday.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Kremlin said it regrets the new U.S. sanctions against Russia and warned of possible retaliation. Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the U.S. move wasn’t constructive, adding that “various options are being considered on expert level.”

Russia also said the new U.S. sanctions continue the “destructive trend” set by Obama administration.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced it has imposed additional sanctions on 38 Russian individuals and firms over Russian activities in Ukraine.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the penalties are designed to “maintain pressure on Russia to work toward a diplomatic solution.” However, overnight Democrats were furious after House Republicans stalled the recently passed broader Senate bill expanding sanctions on Russia further – and which led to loud protests by European allies over potential fines over use of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – stating the bill violated the origination clause of the Constitution.


 

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