Russia calls US sanctions ‘dangerous’ after Trump signs bill

RSTV Bureau
FILE: Washington: File photo of US President Donald Trump. Photo - AP/PTI

File photo of US President Donald Trump. Photo – AP/PTI

Russia’s foreign ministry has said that the new US sanctions, signed into law by President Donald Trump, are a “dangerous” and “short-sighted” policy.

In a statement, the ministry said the sanctions against Russia had put global stability at risk, a matter Moscow said it and the United States bear particular responsibility for.

“We have already shown that we are not going to leave hostile acts unanswered… and we obviously reserve the right to take retaliatory measures,” the Russian statement said.

The ministry also urged the US to “get rid of its illusions and understand that no threat or pressure will force Russia to change its policy or sacrifice its national interests”.

Russia remains “open to cooperation with the United States in areas considered useful to Moscow and to international security, particularly regarding regional conflicts,” it said, in an apparent reference to Syria.

But such collaboration will only be fruitful if “politicians in Washington stop looking at the world through their exclusively American prism,” the statement added.

Trump reluctantly signed off on the sanctions behind closed doors on Wednesday, bowing to domestic pressure. The bill imposes sanctions on Iran and North Korea along with Russia.

While signing the bill Trump called the legislation “significantly flawed.”

“I favour tough measures to punish and deter bad behaviour by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang. I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilisation,” Trump said in a statement after he signed the ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act’.

The bill sanctions Russia citing its cyberhacking as well as aggression in Ukraine and Syria while also slapping new sanctions on North Korea and Iran. The sanctions targets the Russian energy sector, giving the US the ability to sanction companies involved in developing Russian pipelines, and placing curbs on some Russian weapons exporters.

The sanctions also seek to penalise the Kremlin for meddling in the 2016 US presidential election – which Trump won – and Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The legislation also limits the ability of the president to lift the sanctions unilaterally.

Trump had argued by saying, “Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the US to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together,” he argued.

The step puts efforts to improve ties with the Kremlin in severe jeopardy.

On Friday, Russia ordered Washington to slash its diplomatic mission in Russia by 755 staff and blocked two embassy compounds.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over the weekend.

(With inputs from agencies)