US sanctions violate international law & WTO norms, will not be left unanswered – Moscow

US sanctions violate international law & WTO norms, will not be left unanswered – Moscow
The new sanctions imposed by the US violate the principles of the free trade and will prompt an “asymmetric” response from Moscow, Russian lawmakers say. They also said the restrictions are a “dead end.”

“The Americans are going on the offensive against Russia,” First Deputy Head of the Russian Senate’s International Affairs Committee Vladimir Dzhabarov told RIA Novosti while commenting on the new sanctions list issued by the US Treasury earlier on Friday.

In total, 24 Russians and 14 entities were put on the list, including in particular Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, as well as the head of the Russian Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev. The sanctions also targeted Russian billionaires such as Oleg Deripaska and Alexey Miller.

Dzhabarov called the US move “outrageous” and said that it is a manifestation of Washington’s “powerlessness” and “psychosis,” fueled by the fact that many of the US’ recent political projects, including its operation in Syria and attempts to find evidence of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election, have failed. The senator pointed out that these actions undertaken by the US can only lead to a further escalation of tensions between Moscow and Washington, and possibly even a deadlock.

“This is a dead end track. Russia is not to be scared, not to mention broken, by [these measures],” Kosachev said. His words were echoed by the deputy head of the Russian State Duma, Pyotr Tolstoy, who also said that sanctions would “bring no results,” but would only “lead to worsening of the already strained relations between the two countries.”

Attempts by the US to impose its will on Russia and force it to abandon independent foreign policy is doomed to failure both diplomatically and politically, Tolstoy said. At the same time, Moscow will not leave such hostile measures unanswered.

“I believe we need to give an asymmetric answer [to inflict] significant economic losses that would discourage our opponents from further violations of the WTO and the international law principles,” State Duma MP Vladimir Guteneev told RIA. He added that Moscow has the necessary resources to do so. His words were echoed by Dzhabarov, who said that Moscow’s possible response could “affect various fields, including politics and economy.”

Konstantin Kosachev called the move “yet another misguided, unfriendly and senseless step.” He also said that Washington seeks to conceal the absence of a real strategy in relations with Russia behind the sanctions, which are aimed at providing justification for current actions against Moscow.

The secretary of the Russian Security Council and the former director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), Nikolay Patrushev, who was also included on the latest sanctions list, said that the new measures would not prevent Moscow and Washington from continuing dialog on important issues. “The fact that they imposed some sanctions does not mean that we will not communicate with them,” he said, adding that Russian and US officials can even meet on neutral territory in a third country if necessary, regardless of sanctions.