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Russia Urges U.S. To 'Stop Destruction' Of Bilateral Ties

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (file photo)
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (file photo)

Russia says Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has met with U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon in Finland’s capital, Helsinki, to address sore spots in Moscow and Washington's relations.

The Foreign Ministry said in a September 11 statement that the talks focused on the "forced closure" of Russia's Consulate in San Francisco and the "illegitimate seizure" of trade annexes in Washington and New York.

"We called for a stop to the destruction of Russia-U.S. relations and undermining international law, which is fraught with grave consequences, and to start finding solutions to resolve problems that are mounting through no fault of ours," it added.

The U.S. side did not immediately comment on the meeting or the Russian statement. But U.S. officials say the United States has taken no improper diplomatic or law enforcement action in connection with the U.S. order for Russia to vacate the three diplomatic facilities by September 2.

The State Department made that demand after Moscow ordered the United States to cut its diplomatic personnel in Russia to 455 by September 1, which Russian President Putin said meant cutting 755 personnel, in retaliation for new U.S. sanctions against Moscow over Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

During his meeting with Shannon, Ryabkov also drew attention to what Russia's Foreign Ministry called "other unacceptable actions" in Washington, including "the increased arrests of Russian citizens by U.S. intelligence agencies in third countries."

The United States has imposed sanctions against Russia following its illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean region in March 2014 and its backing of separatists in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.

Relations between Moscow and Washington are also severely strained over Russia's alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

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