New sanctions on Russia are a signal for Ukraine not to negotiate – says Russian ambassador to Washington

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Ten people died in Friday’s Ukrainian attack on the town of Tokmak in the Zaporozhye Region

NEW sanctions against Russia are a US signal to Ukraine not to negotiate an end to the war, Russia says.

By introducing new sanctions against Russia, the United States is sending a signal to Kiev not to agree to negotiations with Moscow, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov told reporters on Saturday.

‘Should the new restrictions be considered as a response to Russia’s readiness to reach out with concrete proposals to resume negotiations to resolve the conflict in Ukraine?

‘In that case, the purpose of the sanctions is clear: a signal to Kiev with indications not to agree to anything, even if it leads to downfall at the front,’ the ambassador said in a commentary published on the embassy’s Telegram channel.

Last Friday, the US authorities introduced a ban on the import of aluminium, copper and nickel of Russian origin.

The US and UK have also restricted the use of Russian-origin aluminium, copper and nickel on global metals exchanges and over-the-counter derivative transactions.

As a result, the London Metal Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange will no longer be allowed to replenish the stocks of aluminium, copper and nickel in their warehouses through the supply of Russian raw materials.

Last Thursday, President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine had driven itself into a corner by refusing to negotiate with Russia in the hope of winning on the battlefield.

However, he assured, Moscow is ready for a constructive dialogue on the Ukrainian settlement.

In an interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson in February, Putin said that Russia has never abandoned dialogue on Ukraine, but after the termination of negotiations in Istanbul in March 2022, it is not going to take the first step.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday that Russia is forced to raise the issue of transferring the discussions on South Caucasus to another country away from Switzerland.

‘We have repeatedly drawn the Swiss side’s attention to the fact that its irresponsible adherence to the collective West’s openly hostile course toward Russia, including joining all of the European Union’s “packages” of anti-Russian sanctions, as well as complete solidarity with the Kiev regime, violates the declared “neutrality”,’ she said.

‘In this context, the Russian side was forced to bring to a practical level the issue of transferring the International Geneva discussions on security and stability in the South Caucasus to another country, whose authorities actually refrain from any actions detrimental to the interests of any of the participants of this negotiating format,’ she added.

Zakharova emphasised that ‘several states rightfully lay claim to such a role, and some of them have already agreed to provide their territory for holding regular discussion meetings.’

Meanwhile, Germany will soon send Ukraine another Patriot air defence system from its Bundeswehr stocks, the German Defence Ministry said.

So far, Germany has delivered two Patriot air defence systems to Kiev.

‘We provide support for Ukraine in the amount that we can afford given our own combat readiness,’ Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said.

Pistorius pointed out that he had taken action in advance to acquire a new system instead of the one promised to Ukraine as soon as possible.

Germany is the second-largest arms supplier to Ukraine after the United States.

Berlin has so far allocated some 28 billion euros in military aid to Kiev and future commitments.

Russia has repeatedly emphasised that shipments of Western arms to Ukraine will just protract the conflict.

‘Over the past 24 hours, the Russian Armed Forces hit a launcher of the IRIS-T anti-aircraft missile system,’ the Russian Ministry of Defence announced on Sunday.

‘The launcher of the German-made IRIS-T anti-aircraft missile system and an ammunition depot were destroyed,’ the ministry said.

The personnel and equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were also defeated in 129 districts.

The Russian Armed Forces also shot down 41 unmanned aerial vehicles, three Hammer and JDAM guided bombs, as well as one HIMARS MLRS shell of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The ministry said: ‘Over the past 24 hours, air defence systems have shot down 41 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles, three Hammer guided aerial bombs made in France and a JDAM made in the US, as well as a missile of the US-made HIMARS multiple launch rocket system.’

At the same time, ‘In the Belgorod direction, units of the North group of troops, with the support of aviation and artillery, hit Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel and equipment in the areas of the settlements of Ternovaya, Gatishche in the Kharkov region and Radyanskoye in the Sumy region.’

In the continuing West-backed war, Ukrainian forces attacked Lugansk on Saturday, firing two Storm Shadow missiles, a law enforcement officer in the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) said.

‘According to preliminary data, Ukrainian troops fired two Storm Shadow missiles on Lugansk,’ the officer said.

Earlier on Saturday, explosions had been heard in a Lugansk neighbourhood and several apartment buildings were damaged. Emergency services were working at the scene.

Three civilians were injured in the attack, Vladimir Rogov, chairman of the We Are Together with Russia movement, wrote on his Telegram channel.

Earlier, LPR Head Leonid Pasechnik said that, on Saturday morning, Ukrainians had fired several missiles on a local new machine-building plant which was about to be opened.

Adjacent apartment blocks were damaged too, he added.

Saturday’s attack on Lugansk is the first since May 2023.

Meanwhile, the death toll in last Friday’s Ukrainian attack on the town of Tokmak in the Zaporozhye Region has risen to 10, with two people still missing, Governor Yevgeny Balitsky said on Saturday.

Earlier, he reported that eight people had been killed.

‘The number of those killed in the Ukrainian terrorist attack on Tokmak has risen to 10 as rescuers have recovered the bodies of an adult and a child from under the fallen rubble. Two others are still missing,’ he wrote on his Telegram channel, adding that the search and rescue operation is ongoing.

Earlier, emergency services said that five houses, including a privately-owned home, were partially destroyed in Tokmak as a result of the attack.

Last Friday evening, Ukrainian troops attacked the town using multiple rocket launchers.

According to the latest information, 13 people injured in the attack have been hospitalised – five of them being rescued from under the rubble.

On Saturday, the Russian Defence Ministry reported: ‘Operational-tactical aircraft, missile troops and artillery of the Russian Armed Forces hit manpower and equipment of the Ukrainian army in 112 areas.’

They also liberated the settlement of Pervomaiskoye in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) which is near the Avdeyevka sector of the line of engagement.

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, over the weekend, Ukraine’s Armed Forces sustained roughly 235 casualties near the Avdeyevka sector of the line of engagement, as units from Russia’s Battlegroup Centre repelled eight Ukrainian counter-attacks there.

‘The enemy lost roughly 235 troops, two armoured combat vehicles, three cars and a 122mm D-30 howitzer,’ the ministry reported.

Soldiers serving in the Ukrainian armed forces’ 25th separate airborne brigade have surrendered as a unit to the Russian military in the Avdeyevka area, the Russian Defence Ministry said.

‘Servicemen of the 25th separate airborne brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces have surrendered as a unit to Russian troops from Battlegroup Tsentr (Centre) in the Avdeyevka area.

Nine Ukrainian paratroopers of the airborne platoon, the elite brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces, seized the opportunity to surrender near Vodyanoye, turned to Russian soldiers and laid down their arms,’ the ministry said.

Ukrainian forces have sustained over 500 casualties in the Donetsk direction in the past day, (Saturday through Sunday) the Russian Defence Ministry said adding:

‘Ukrainian forces lost over 500 troops, a tank, three armoured combat vehicles, 23 cars and a Strela-10 launcher vehicle.

‘In counter-battery fire, two US-made 155mm M777 howitzers, a 152mm D-20 howitzer and a 122mm D-30 howitzers were struck,’ it added.