Russia slams new US sanctions, mulls retaliation

Moscow: Russia condemned a new round of US sanctions as illegal on Thursday and said it had begun working on retaliatory measures after news of the curbs pushed the rouble to two-year lows over fears Moscow was locked in a series of sanctions.

Russia slammed the US administration’s decision to impose tough new US sanctions following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK earlier this year as “categorically unacceptable and illegal”. Moscow has been trying with mixed success to improve battered US-Russia ties since President Donald Trump won the White House in 2016, and Russia’s political elite organised a summit between Trump and Vladimir Putin.

But initial triumphalism swiftly turned sour as anger over what US lawmakers saw as an over deferential performance by Trump and his failure to confront Putin over Moscow’s alleged meddling in US politics galvanised new sanctions push. Moscow finds Trump is under mounting pressure from some US lawmakers to show he is tough on Russia.

Sanctions in 2 tranches

  • The US State Department said it would impose fresh sanctions by the month’s end after determining that Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, in Britain, something Moscow denies.
  • The new sanctions come in two tranches. One, which targets US exports of sensitive national-security related goods, comes with exemptions and many of the items it covers were banned by previous restrictions. The second, which will be activated if Moscow fails to provide ‘reliable assurances’ it will no longer use chemical weapons.

(With inputs from Agencies)