Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev speaks during a meeting in Kamchatka Peninsula region, Russian Far East, Russia, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. (Dmitry Astakhov, Sputnik, Government Pool Photo via AP)
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WASHINGTON: Russia typically brushes off new U.S. sanctions.If sanctions are expanded even further to target Russia's top state-controlled banks, freezing their dollar transactions – as proposed under legislation introduced in the Senate this month – it would amount to a "declaration of economic war," Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Friday.So much for President Donald Trump's hopes for better relations with Moscow. On his watch, the U.S. has imposed a slew of sanctions on Russia for human rights abuses, meddling in the U.S. election and Russian military aggression in Ukraine and Syria. The restrictions were triggered under U.S. law on chemical weapons following a formal U.S. determination that Russia used the Novichok nerve agent to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury in March.If Russia does not comply, Trump will be obligated to impose a second set of sanctions, applying restrictions on at least three from a menu of options: opposing multilateral bank assistance to Russia, broad restrictions on exports and imports, downgrading diplomatic relations, prohibiting air carrier landing rights and barring U.S. banks from making loans to the Russian government.Fried said that in addition to uncertainty over sanctions, Moscow's strong response this time is likely also being fueled by larger inconsistencies in U.S. policy toward Russia.The State Department denied inconsistency in U.S. policy and maintained that sanctions were aimed at encouraging improved behavior from Russia.
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