Russia cancels talks with U.S. officials in response to U.S. sanctions

Russia cancelled an upcoming round of Russia-U.S. talks this week, following the U.S. government's re-affirmation of sanctions against Russia over its ongoing intervention in Ukraine.
By Miriam Griffin | Jun 24, 2017
Russia cancelled an upcoming round of Russia-U.S. talks this week, following the U.S. government's re-affirmation of sanctions against Russia over its ongoing intervention in Ukraine. Sergei Ryabkhov, Russia's deputy foreign minister, denounced the new sanctions as the work of "avid Russophobes" in Congress and that he was responding by cancelling a round of talks scheduled later this week with his U.S. counterpart, Tom Shannon.

Congress is still debating proposed legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia, but the U.S. Treasury has acted in the meantime to designate a list of 38 more Russian individuals and organizations with whom U.S. citizens can no longer do business or exchange money. It has done so even while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared in the House of Representatives last week to urge the lawmakers not to pass the sanctions bill.

A State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said that the Treasury's sanctions were meant to reinforce already-existing sanctions against Russia for its Ukraine intervention. She also stated that Russia could get the sanctions lifted if it withdraws from Crimea.

"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," Nauert said.

Tensions between the United States and Russia have risen in the past week. Ryabkhov's meeting cancellation comes only days after a Russian declaration that it is no longer engaging with the U.S.-led military coalition in Syria. That statement was in response to U.S. forces shooting down a Syrian fighter jet.

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