The United States and Russian officials are set to hold a meeting. According to Sergei Lavrov, Russia's Foreign Minister, a senior aide to Vladimir Putin will soon meet Kurt Volker, the American special representative in Ukraine. Lavrov did not disclose the exact date of the expected conference.

Response to a new round of American sanctions

The Foreign Minister had earlier this week met with #Rex Tillerson, #The United States #Secretary of State. The two top officials discussed the Ukraine situation and several other issues of interest to the two countries. According to Lavrov, Tillerson had asked him during the meeting on what measures the Kremlin intends to take in response to new economic sanctions imposed on them by the US government.

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The United States imposed the new round of sanctions as punishment over Moscow's alleged interference in last year's American presidential election.

Despite President Donald Trump's vocal objections, the sanctions passed both houses of Congress by an unassailable majority. The sanctions are partly aimed at Russia's energy sector, imposing new boundaries on US investment in oil companies. In a swift response to the sanctions, the Russian government has ordered Washington reduce to seven hundred and fifty-five its more than one thousand consulate staffers in the country. Russia will also seize US diplomatic compounds, as a further indication of their anger towards the new sanctions.

Hope for continued dialogue between Russia and the US

However, addressing reporters on Tuesday, Tillerson expressed his hopes that ties between the two nuclear powers will remain tight.

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Speaking of his dealings with Lavrov, the Secretary of State said that they are both committed to finding ways to bring back cordial relationships. However, several analysts and former American government officials are skeptical that issues such as the Syrian civil war, the conflict in Ukraine, and a reversal of Russia's annexation of the Crimea, could be solved in the current political climate between Moscow and Washington. According to Andrew Weiss, an analyst at Carnegie Endowment, Russia's anger at the ongoing Russia probe on last year's US election has been worsened by the new sanctions.

After his meeting with Tillerson on Sunday, Lavrov expressed his optimism that despite its decision to impose new sanctions on Russia, the US is ready to continue talks on outstanding bilateral issues. Speaking after the lengthy meeting held on the sidelines of an international conference in Manila, Lavrov said there is no alternative to dialogue.