Russian premier Medvedev warns U.S. against crossing red line on sanctions
Moscow issued a stern warning to the U.S. on Friday against ramping up sanctions against Russia, saying the Kremlin will retaliate with economic, political and unspecified “other” measures.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s warning reflects Russian fears over the impact of new restrictions on its economy and assets, including the ruble USDRUB, +1.6537% RUBUSD, -1.626837% , which has lost significant value this week on sanctions jitters.
See: U.S. sanctions take toll on ruble and Russian stocks
In a sign of how seriously Russia is taking the threat, strongman Vladimir Putin discussed what the Kremlin called “possible new unfriendly steps by Washington” with members of his Security Council.
They said the new sanctions were “absolutely illegal” under international law, the TASS news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.
“There was a discussion of new unfriendly steps on the part of Washington, which may take the form of trade restrictions,” Peskov said.
On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department said that Washington determined that Moscow had used a nerve agent to poison ex–Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British city of Salisbury and that sanctions would follow later this month.
Russia has strongly denied involvement in the poisoning.
According to the State Department, the sanctions will include the presumed denial of export licenses for Russia to buy many items with national security implications.
New sanctions proposals include legislation targeting Russia’s state-controlled banks and freezing their operations in dollars — a move that would deal a heavy blow to the country’s economy.
Medvedev warned the U.S. that such a move would cross a red line.
“If something like a ban on bank operations or currency use follows, it will amount to a declaration of economic war,” he said. “And it will warrant a response with economic means, political means and, if necessary, other means. Our American friends should understand that.”
Russia-US relations have sunk to their lowest level since the Cold War era amid tensions over Ukraine, the war in Syria and the allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Medvedev said that while Washington says the sanctions are meant to punish Russia’s “bad” behavior, their real goal is to sideline a rival.
“It’s intended to remove Russia as a strong competitor on the international arena,” he said.
Medvedev pointed at U.S. efforts to block the construction of a Russian natural gas pipeline to Germany in order to encourage the sales of American liquefied natural gas to Europe as an example of “unfair competition.”
Wire services contributed.
This report previously appeared at NYPost.com.
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