The US Treasury Department issued a new round of sanctions on dozens of Russian businessmen and senior government officials, as well as companies. Moscow has vowed that it "will provide a harsh response to new US sanctions or any future hostile move against Russia".
The new sanctions include the owners of aluminum and gold production companies, together with Russia’s Gazprom, as well as a Russian bank, and are the harshest to be issued by the US since the 2014 annexation of Crimea.
The motivation is given as Russia’s so-called “malign activity” in Ukraine and Syria, as well as its alleged “meddling” in Western elections.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement warning that Russia “will provide a harsh response to new US sanctions or any future hostile move against Russia,” Sputnik News reported.
The “language of sanctions” will threaten thousands of US jobs that depend on Russian firms hit by the latest wave of penalties.
“We would like, first of all, to advise Washington to get rid of illusions that we can be spoken to in the language of sanctions,” the ministry said in a statement.
“By continuously using sanctions, including for removing rivals from foreign markets with the use of such administrative measures, Washington practically becomes an opponent of the market economy and fair competition,” the statement added.
US democracy is “degrading,” and Washington is scrambling to “ensure the global hegemony of the United States by all means, including through pressure on countries that have an independent voice, unlike Washington’s allies in NATO,” the ministry said but concluded that “no pressure will make Russia swerve off its path”.
The Russian embassy in the United States issued a statement regarding yet another blow to US-Russia relations.
“Washington again struck US-Russia relations,” the Russian embassy’s statement read. “Now, the captains of Russian businesses who refused to play by Washington’s rules got targeted by the sanctions.”
The fallout from the Skripal affair, one high-level retired Russian general warned, could be the “last war in the history of mankind”.
Ret. Lieutenant-General Evgeny Buzhinsky — who served in the Russian Armed Forces for more than forty years — said relations between Russia and Washington could become “worse” than the climax of the Cold War and “end up in a very, very bad outcome” following what appears to have been a false flag attack in the United Kingdom involving the Skripals.
Buzhinsky is currently the senior vice president of the Russian Center for Policy Studies (PIR Center), and was interviewed by the BBC’s Radio Today program.
“You see the pressure from the United States, that you say the pressure is going to continue, what are you going to achieve? You are going to achieve the regime change, it’s useless. You don’t know Russians. The more external pressure, the more the society is solidified around the President.”
More than 150 Russian diplomats have now been expelled from 25 countries — including 23 from the United Kingdom.
“Okay, you expelled diplomats. We expelled diplomats. You further expel, what is the next step? The breach of diplomatic relations.”
“After that, I said it may lead to nowhere. Actually, you are cornering Russia. To corner, Russia is a very dangerous thing.”
Buzhinsky added: “I believe that our Western partners, I mean primarily the United Kingdom, the United States and some countries that blindly follow them, have cast away all decency, they are resorting to open lies, blatant misinformation.”
Buzhinsky has also spoken to the American magazine The National Interest. An open armed confrontation between Moscow and Washington can occur in Syria, the general warned. He suggested that the actions of Great Britain in the “case of Skripal” are coordinated with Washington.