US Senate passes sanctions bill against Russia, Iran and North Korea

German business lobby urges EU action against new US sanctions on Russia
Tobias Schwarz Reuters
Author

31 July, 2017

Russia is suspending the use of all warehouses in Moscow by the United States embassy starting from August 1, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

"We continue to support strong sanctions against those three countries, and we're going to wait and see what that final legislation looks like and make a decision at that point", she told reporters.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agencies later Friday that he would not rule out further steps, adding that Russia's "toolbox" of how to react to the new sanctions "doesn't come down to" cutting the embassy staff and seizing the recreational retreat.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow, with a monument to Russian revolutionary workers in the foreground Friday, July 28, 2017.

"The legislation would codify existing sanctions on Russia by placing into law six executive orders signed by President Obama in response to both Russian interference in the 2016 election and its illegal actions in Ukraine".

Russian Federation has retaliated to new USA sanctions by telling Washington to cut its diplomatic staff to 455 and barring the use of some properties.

Russia's Foreign Ministry on Friday said it is ordering the U.S. Embassy in Russian Federation to reduce the number of its diplomats by September 1.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has personally authorized the Foreign Ministry statement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday. Russian Federation will also close down the embassy's recreational retreat on the outskirts of Moscow as well as warehouse facilities.

Germany's foreign minister said his country wouldn't accept the USA sanctions against Russian Federation being applied to European companies.

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Russian Federation on Friday ordered a reduction in the number of US diplomats allowed in Russian Federation and said it was closing down a USA recreational retreat in response to the USA approval of a new package of stiff financial sanctions against Russian Federation.

The proposed measures target Russia's energy sector as part of legislation that prevents President Donald Trump from easing sanctions on Moscow without congressional approval.

The bill underwent revisions to address concerns voiced by American oil and natural gas companies that sanctions specific to Russia's energy sector could backfire on them to Moscow's benefit.

"Neither action will help the U.S. -Russia relationship, which was already at a hard level", said Pifer.

Lawmakers say they want to prevent the president from acting on his own to lift penalties imposed by the previous administration for meddling in last year's US election and for aggression in Ukraine.

It was not immediately clear how many USA diplomats and other workers would be forced to leave the country.

Senator John McCain, a leading congressional voice calling for a firm line against Russian Federation, said before the vote on yesterday's bill: "The United States of America needs to send a strong message to Vladimir Putin and any other aggressor that we will not tolerate attacks on our democracy".

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was also seizing a Moscow dacha compound used by USA diplomats to relax from August 1 as well as a US diplomatic warehouse in Moscow.


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