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Russia: New U.S. Sanctions Threaten Bilateral Relations

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the State Department in Washington on May 10

WASHINGTON -- Russia's Foreign Мinistry slammed new U.S. sanctions that target mainly Russian people and companies linked to the Ukraine conflict, saying the move puts at "serious risk" the entire bilateral relationship.

The comments were released June 22 after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by telephone with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

They were the latest in a series of increasingly angry comments by Russian officials about the sanctions, announced earlier this week.

"Such actions put at serious risk the entire system of Russian-American relations, which were going through a difficult period even without this," the ministry said.

The State Department had no immediate comment about the Lavrov-Tillerson phone call.

A day earlier, the ministry abruptly announced the cancellation of talks between Lavrov's deputy, Sergei Ryabkov, and a top U.S. State Department diplomat, Tom Shannon.

In that announcement, Ryabkov threatened unspecified retaliation for the newly announced sanctions.