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Kremlin warns against ‘harmful’ new US sanctions on Russia

PHOTO:AFP

The Kremlin on Monday warned that new US sanctions on Russia would hit the interests of both sides as Congress gears up to approved fresh punitive measures.

“We consider such a continuation of the rhetoric of sanctions counter-productive and harmful to the interests of both countries,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

In mid-June, the US Senate overwhelmingly passed tough sanctions, but the text stalled in the House of Representatives, until agreement was reached on Saturday.

The House is now set to vote Tuesday on a bill that targets Russia — for its alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 — as well as Iran and North Korea, for its ballistic missile tests.

Initially, US President Donald Trump resisted the legislation, which would prevent him from unilaterally easing penalties against Moscow in the future — effectively placing him under Congress’s watch.

But he seems to be left with little option but to sign off on the move as a political firestorm swirls over potential collusion between his campaign and Russia.

Peskov said the Kremlin is still waiting and watching to see if Trump will approve the measures, after White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said the US leader was weighing his decision.

Before Trump definitively takes a decision it is too early to talk about any potential counter measure from Moscow, Peskov said.

Ties between Moscow and Washington have slumped to their lowest since the Cold War as the US slapped sanctions on Moscow over it meddling in Ukraine.

Russia had hoped that Trump’s election might ease relations between the two sides, but those prospects have dimmed in the face of a major political pushback in Washington.



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