-Anietie Udobit,Agency reports
Russia has warned that talks aimed at imposing further US sanctions on Moscow will prove “counterproductive” and “harmful.”
Speaking Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said plans for fresh sanctions would prove detrimental not just to the US and Russia, but other countries too.
Peskov’s comments come two days after both the US House and Senate reached a deal to impose fresh sanctions on Russia and give Congress a new veto power to block any easing of them.
The bill punishes Russia for interfering in the US election, as well as the 2014 annexation of Crimea and its ongoing military activity in eastern Ukraine.
Congress hopes to approve the bill and put it on the President’s desk before it breaks for the August recess.
Bipartisan negotiators are finalizing some tweaks to several areas of the bill, including details on Congress’ power to enforce sanctions and changes that were added at the request of US businesses who expressed concerns the current bill could put them at a competitive disadvantage.
Peskov said Monday that Russia is treating the issue of sanctions “extremely negatively,” especially those currently being pursued in the House and Senate but added that Moscow will “patiently wait for this position to be finalized,” before taking any “retaliatory measures.”
“Talking about some retaliatory measures without even having clear information about the decisions, passed or rejected, would be counterproductive,” he said. “We are not going to do this.’
The vote on the major sanctions package comes as the Trump Administration is dealing with multiple probes into allegations the President’s campaign colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 election.
The House will vote on the bill on Tuesday, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s schedule, and the Senate is likely to take it up after that, although Senate leaders haven’t said when they will bring it to the floor.
Former US President Barack Obama slapped Russia with sanctions in January 2017 following its alleged interference in the US election.
The administration described Russia’s involvement as “Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities” and sanctioned four Russian individuals and five Russian entities for what it said was election interference.
The administration also ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave the country and two Russian compounds were closed and are yet to reopen.
Last month, the European Union extended its economic sanctions on Russia, which were originally imposed in July 2014 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the destabilizing of the situation in Donbas in Eastern Ukraine.