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2 Aug, 2017 16:43

Moscow ‘won’t bend or break’ over US sanctions – Russian envoy to UN

Moscow ‘won’t bend or break’ over US sanctions – Russian envoy to UN

Moscow “won’t bend” and has no plans to change its policies following Donald Trump’s signing of new anti-Russian sanctions, says its permanent representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia.

“Those who invented this bill, if they were thinking that they might change our policy they were wrong, as history many times proved. They should have known better that we do not bend and do not break,” Nebenzia told journalists in New York.

Nebenzia, who was appointed last month to replace the late Vitaly Churkin, added that the ratification was expected, and would “inevitably” further damage the relationship between the two countries.

"Some of the US officials were saying that this is a bill that might encourage Russia to cooperate... This is a strange form of encouragement. But it is not our habit to be resentful children," continued the diplomat, who promised that Moscow would "not relent on finding means and ways" to cooperate in the international arena over issues such as Syria.

The Kremlin also chose not to escalate the situation further.

“De facto, this changes nothing. There is nothing new here,” Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told the media in Moscow.

“Counter-measures have already been taken.”

After the cross-party bill was approved overwhelmingly by the House and Senate last week, the Russian president announced that the US would have to cut its embassy staff in the country by 755 people by September, and said that Moscow would seize several buildings used by diplomats.

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that the bill was a "humiliating defeat" for Trump's "impotent administration."

"The sanctions arose as another means to put Trump in his place. There will be new attempts, the eventual aim of which will be to take power away from him," he said.

The Congress bill penalizes Russia’s energy and defense sectors over Moscow’s purported meddling in last year’s US election and alleged involvement in eastern Ukraine.

As he signed it, Trump called the legislation “significantly flawed” and warned that it would “hinder our important work with European allies,” which have already said that the bill may impinge on their own economic interests, including the construction of the key Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany.

Trump said that the bill contained “clearly unconstitutional provisions,” referring to measures under which he would have to prove to Congress that Russia had changed its ways if he desired to roll the sanctions back, which lay “in contravention of the president’s exclusive constitutional authority to determine the time, scope, and objectives of international negotiation.”