Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), the presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov (C) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) speak before their meeting with German Chancellor in Sochi, May 18, 2018. AFP/Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev
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Russia condemned a new round of U.S. sanctions as illegal Thursday after news of the measures sent the ruble tumbling to two-year lows and sparked a wider asset sell-off over fears that Moscow was locked in a spiral of never-ending curbs by the West.Moscow has been trying with mixed success to improve battered U.S.-Russia ties since U.S. President Donald Trump won the White House in 2016, and Russia's political elite was quick to chalk up a summit last month between Trump and President Vladimir Putin as a victory.Having bet heavily on improving ties with Washington via Trump, Moscow now finds that Trump is under mounting pressure from U.S. lawmakers to show he is tough on Russia ahead of mid-term elections.Proposed U.S. legislation prepared by several senators calls on Trump to widen the sanctions further to include virtually all Russian energy projects and effectively bar Western companies from any involvement in the country.
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