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New U.S. Sanctions Hit Moscow over Navalny and Nord Stream 2 as Antonov Returns to Washington

June 21, 2021 (EIRNS)—U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced on June 20 that Washington was preparing another package of anti-Russian sanctions over Alexey Navalny and against Russian companies participating in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia underneath the Baltic Sea to Europe.

Sullivan’s announcement happened on the same day as Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov arrived to resume his post in Washington, after having been recalled for consultations to Moscow on March 20. Sullivan’s remarks drew a sharp response from the ambassador. “This is not a signal we all expected after the summit,” Antonov stressed.

“I don’t think it is possible to stabilize and normalize relations between countries by means of sanctions. The current task is to normalize dialogue. First of all, we need to restore wrecked dialogue mechanisms. It is sad that our American colleagues are opting for a path that will not lead us to a positive result our presidents were oriented to.”

Antonov continued: “The task is to simply work and implement the positive words that were pronounced by the presidents. Russian diplomats, who are working here, are ready to improve Russian-U.S. relations.” A few hours earlier, he took a commercial Aeroflot flight to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, where he was met by Russian diplomats.

On arriving in Washington, Antonov said, “Back in Geneva, unlike many of my colleagues, I was very particular about the summit results. I said that I trust deeds more than words. I said let us wait and see what our American colleagues are going to do,” he told journalists upon arrival from Russia. When it comes to plans to impose more sanctions, “What you said—I feel I have seen something of the kind, that we have been through this.”

Antonov also said he hoped to meet with his American counterparts in the coming days to determine where things stand. “Let me meet with the American colleagues,” he told journalists. “Everything will be clear in some ten days. So far, it is too early. We do have very serious problems. We are ready for a constructive dialogue, ready to try to resolve all the problems,” TASS quoted him as saying.

Interestingly, President Biden and President Putin held a phone discussion on April 13, at which they discussed the need for a face-to-face summit between them. Then, on April 15, President Biden signed an Executive Order with a truckload of sanctions, including expelling 10 Russian diplomats, and sanctioning 32 individuals and companies for alleged interference in the 2020 election, and on and on.

After years of not responding to illegal U.S. sanctions, Russia responded. Antonov had already been recalled to Moscow a month earlier. On April 16, the Foreign Ministry announced expulsions of U.S. diplomats on a one-to-one basis for every Russian diplomat expelled. Ending the activities of State Department-controlled NGOs in Russia. And U.S. Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan was summoned to the Foreign Ministry for what was previewed as a “difficult discussion.” It was shortly afterward revealed that Sullivan was invited to return to Washington for consultations, indefinitely.

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