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26 Jul, 2017 08:37

New US sanctions against Russia ‘defy common sense’, will cause retaliation – Moscow

Moscow will retaliate against the US for the expected adoption of new anti-Russian sanctions, which are viewed in Russia as senseless and destructive, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said.

“It can be said now that the news is very sad from the perspective of Russian-American relations and the perspectives of their development,” Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday. 

"This is no less disheartening from the point of view of international law and international trade relations," he said. 

"The attitude to this (law) will be formed on the basis of a thorough analysis, and the decision (on how to respond) will certainly be taken by the head of state, President Putin," he said.

The new round of sanctions by Washington is “equally dreadful from the point of view of international law and international trade relations,” Peskov told journalists.

“What is happening defies common sense. The authors and sponsors of this bill are taking a very serious step towards destroying any potential for normalizing relations with Russia,” Sergey Ryabkov told the media on Wednesday, referring to an act adopted earlier by the US House of Representatives.

The bill seeks to impose new economic sanctions against North Korea, Iran, and Russia, and received overwhelming support from US legislators.

Moscow is being targeted for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, an allegation that Russia denies and which has not been backed by convincing public evidence.

Russia's foreign ministry expects the bill to become law, which would inevitably prompt Moscow to retaliate, Ryabkov warned.

“We told them dozens of times that such actions would not be left without a response. I believe the signal went through even though present-day Washington tends to listen to and hear from no one but itself,” he said.

Similar concerns were voiced by Senator Frants Klintsevich, who chairs the Defense and Security Committee. He said that Washington's stance is dragging the world into a new Cold War, and compared the looming new sanctions to the notorious 1974 Jackson–Vanik amendment.

That amendment targeted the Soviet Union with economic sanctions for obstructing the repatriation of its Jewish citizens to Israel, but survived even after the discriminative policy was canceled. It remained in effect for almost four decades, hurting Russia's economic growth. The piece of legislation is viewed by many in Russia as an example of unfair economic competition by the US under a pretext of protecting human rights.

Klintsevich said the US move “will make very difficult, if possible at all, any Russian-American cooperation on solving important international issues, including fighting against terrorism.”

The US bill, which is yet to be signed into law by President Donald Trump, also sparked concern in Europe. European governments and business leaders fear the sanctions would hurt crucial joint energy projects with Russia and may be motivated by Washington's desire to take over the European natural gas market from Russia in favor of American liquefied natural gas (LNG).