US 'regrets' Russian decision to cancel talks

Gladys Abbott
June 27, 2017

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

Included in the sanctions, are two Russian government officials.

Moscow regards a USA statement linking the lifting of sanctions on Russian Federation to its withdrawal from eastern Ukraine as inappropriate and incorrect, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.

The same day, Jeh Johnson, homeland security secretary under President Barack Obama, told lawmakers that President Vladimir Putin himself directed the cyber assault on the United States election.

Nauert says those sanctions "didn't come out of nowhere". The goal of sanctions is to keep the pressure on Russian Federation to find a diplomatic solution, Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin said.

That prompted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov to cancel a meeting with Thomas A. Shannon Jr., the under secretary of State for political affairs, which was set to take place in St. Petersburg on Friday.

"We have repeatedly said Russia is not present on the territory of Donbass", Peskov told reporters, referring to a swath of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

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Moscow says all the European Union sanctions, along with extensive USA measures, are both ineffective and counterproductive.

They follow the passing of a bill by the Senate that would impose more sanctions, partially in response to Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

The planned meeting between Shannon and Rybakov would have been the second, after a May meeting in NY.

Peskov did not specify whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would refuse to meet President Donald Trump at the upcoming G-20 conference, scheduled to be held in Hamburg on July 7-8. "We remain open to future discussions", she said.

The EU and the USA have linked the economic sanctions to the February 2015 Minsk cease-fire accord, which aimed to end fighting between Ukraine's forces and Russia-backed separatists.

Ryabkov warned late Wednesday of retaliation.

Many measures, specifically, prohibit financial interactions with Crimea.

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