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Russia slams new U.S. sanctions and vows to retaliate

Russia slams new U.S. sanctions and vows to retaliate

March 3, 2021: On Tuesday, Moscow rejected new sanctions imposed on it by the U.S., describing the restrictions led by President Joe Biden’s administration as “hostile.”

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it would retaliate against what it said was a counterproductive act that aggravated bilateral relations further.

A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said, “This is just a pretext for the continuing undisguised interference in our domestic affairs, and we will not accept this.”

She also said

that sanctions would fail, “Any hopes to impose something on Russia by way of sanctions have failed in the past and will fail now.”

The comments come to post the U.S. imposed further sanctions on Russia for its suspected poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny the previous year. Restrictions were imposed by Washington against seven Russian officials and on 14 entities “based on their proliferation activities in support of Russia’s weapons of mass destruction programs and chemical weapons activities,” the State Department of U.S. said.

A critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Navalny went to Germany, where he was recovered from the poisoning. The Kremlin refused any involvement in the poisoning that Navalny claimed.

The U.S. coordinated the sanctions with the EU, issuing its restrictive measures on Tuesday that sanctioned four senior government officials that it said were “responsible for serious human rights violations” and involved in Navalny’s “arbitrary arrest, prosecution, and sentencing.”

The restrictions came on top of other measures imposed last October when it had restricted travel and frozen six Russian officials and one entity’s assets.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the U.S. had sent a “clear signal that Russia’s use of chemical weapons and abuse of human rights has serious consequences.” But some people don’t think the measures have gone far enough to deter Russia from the same type of abuses in the future.

Timothy Ash, a senior emerging markets strategist at Bluebay Asset Management, said they did not hurt Russia, citing a rally in the Russian ruble as a sign that “the market likes it, thinking that these are very soft sanctions.”

Russia’s next step is anticipated, although Zakharova said Russia would not fight fire with fire.

“Regardless of the U.S.’s enthusiasm for sanctions, we will continue to consistently and firmly uphold our national interests. We urge our colleagues not to play with fire,” she said.

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