Russia has cancelled a planned meeting between its deputy foreign minister, Sergey Rybakov, and U.S. Under Secretary of State Tom Shannon in response to a new round of sanctions imposed by the U.S. The sanctions, which pertain to more than three dozen individuals and organizations involved in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, were announced Tuesday as President Trump welcomed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to the White House.
The now-cancelled meeting was scheduled to take place on Friday in St. Petersburg following a May meeting in New York City. Rybakov and Shannon were expected to lead a working group in an effort to smooth out escalating tensions between the two nations. In a pointed statement on Wednesday, Rybakov said the goal was “to find ways out of the extremely difficult situation in which the American side wore the partnership and cooperation with Russia down.” The statement continued: “After yesterday’s decision on sanctions, the situation does not allow for a round of such a dialogue, especially as there is no content for it, since Washington didn’t offer, nor is offering now, anything specific.”
Indeed, it seems the two nations have reached a stalemate, with the U.S. unwilling to budge in its condemnation of Russian aggression, and Russia unwilling to communicate unless the U.S. loosens its reigns. This applies not only to the new round of sanctions, but to other strains, both local and abroad. In his statement on Wednesday, Rybakov cited the United States’s failure to return Russian compounds in Maryland and New York as another motivation for cancelling Friday’s meeting. The decision also comes just three days after a U.S. fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane, prompting threats from Russia that it would now target American aircrafts flying over Syria.