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Lavrov tells Tillerson attempts to exert pressure on Russia through sanctions pointless

The relations between the two states are already "going through a tough period", according to Lavrov

MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that attempts to exert pressure on Moscow through sanctions were pointless, the Russian Foreign Minister said in a statement on Thursday.

"While assessing the prospects for bilateral dialogue, Sergey Lavrov pointed out that attempts to exert pressure on Russia through sanctions were pointless, though Washington once again used this tool on June 20," the statement reads. "Such steps put Russian-US ties at serious risk, while bilateral relations are already going through a tough period," the Russian Foreign Ministry added.

The Russian top diplomat also stressed that Moscow expected Washington to respond to its proposals aimed at normalizing bilateral relations.

"In order to assess the current situation, Russia had to postpone the meeting between a Russian deputy foreign minister and a US undersecretary of state, who were scheduled to meet on June 23 to discuss issues concerning Russian-US relations," the statement says.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said earlier that the next round of consultations between high-ranking Russian and US diplomats had been cancelled. The consultations were planned to involve Ryabkov and US Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon.

Fight against terrorism 

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, "while discussing global issues, Sergey Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s attitude towards the actions that the US-led coalition takes, which violate Syria’s sovereignty and hinder activities aimed at suppressing terrorists and facilitating efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis."

"Moscow calls on Washington to strictly abide by all the previously reached agreements concerning various aspects of the Syrian settlement," the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement adds.

On June 18, a US F-18 fighter jet from the US-led coalition shot down a Syrian Air Force Sukhoi Su-22 warplane that was supporting the government troops’ offensive on the positions of the Islamic State terror group (outlawed in Russia) in the area of al-Rasaf, 40 kilometers southwest of Raqqa. The pilot ejected and was rescued by Syrian troops.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced on June 19 that Russia’s defenses would track the US-led coalition’s warplanes and drones west of the Euphrates River in Syria. Besides, Russia suspended cooperation with the US based on the memorandum on preventing incidents and ensuring flights safety.