Russian FM: US sanction pressure on Moscow ‘illusory’

Russian FM: US sanction pressure on Moscow ‘illusory’

The U.S. State Department expressed regret at the cancellation of Friday’s talks.

Russia canceled talks with a top USA official to protest the latest sanctions punishing Russian companies and individuals over the conflict in Ukraine, in a fresh setback for President Donald Trump’s bid to improve ties with President Vladimir Putin’s government.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert refused to go into specifics of the call between Lavrov and Tillerson. This move was seen largely as a prelude to President Trump’s meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

The important meeting was scheduled in St Petersburg between US Under Secretary of State Tom Shannon and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.

Russian Federation warned it could respond to the sanctions with “practical retaliatory measures”.

“The maintenance package of sanctions issued yesterday by the Treasury Department, which only reinforced existing sanctions, was created to counter attempts to circumvent our sanctions”, Nauert said.

They also come at a volatile time for Russia-U.S. relations.

This comes in response to the United States tightening sanctions on Russian Federation earlier this week, in a bid to end it’s occupation of Crimea. Former President Barack Obama levied punitive sanctions against the Kremlin in December for the election interference issue. The Russian Foreign Ministry released an announcement according to which the event would not take place as the imposed sanctions were without grounds.

In a statement circulated on Friday by the press service of Leonid Slutsky, head of the Lower House Committee for International Affairs, the lawmaker stated that when the European Union had extended the anti-Russian sanctions it was following the guidelines issued in the “far West” – a thinly-veiled hint at the USA – and was putting itself in a situation with no clear way out.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the penalties are created to “maintain pressure on Russian Federation to work toward a diplomatic solution”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also recently warned that the new sanctions by the Senate against Russia will complicate relations between the two countries. This would lead to taking the official decision concerning the prolongation of the anti-Russia sanctions linked to the full implementation of the ceasefire deal shortly after the meeting.