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Russia warns US on new sanctions

China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-11 07:40

Medvedev: Further move would be 'declaration of economic war'

MOSCOW - Russia warned on Friday that if the United States followed through with threats to impose further harsh economic sanctions it would be seen as a "declaration of economic war".

The warning by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev came after the US unveiled a raft of new sanctions against Russia over its alleged use of the Novichok nerve agent against a former double agent which London has blamed on Moscow.

The incident, which took place in a city in England in March, triggered a major diplomatic crisis despite Russia's denial of any role.

The announcement of the sanctions prompted Russian stocks and the rouble to tumble on Thursday.

"While I don't want to comment on the talk about future sanctions, I can say that if we end up with something like a ban on banking activities or the use of certain currencies, we can clearly call this a declaration of economic war," Medvedev said. "And we must absolutely respond to this war. By economic means, by political means and if necessary by other means."

Announced on Wednesday, the first set of sanctions, which will take effect in two weeks, impose a ban on the export to Russia of "national security sensitive" US technologies.

Until now, such exports had been allowed on a case-by-case basis, with a senior US State Department official saying the move could cut off hundreds of millions of dollars worth of exports to Russia.

A second round of sanctions that could go into effect 90 days later would cut far deeper, including blocking all US bank loans to Russian entities, an outright ban on US exports to Russia, and the suspension of diplomatic relations.

Russia on Thursday responded furiously to the sanctions, denouncing them as "categorically unacceptable".

Russian President Vladimir Putin met his US counterpart Donald Trump last month in Helsinki, Finland, during which they expressed satisfaction with the meeting, calling it "the" first important step" toward better ties.

But the new US sanctions mean that the two nations are "slipping into an economic war" and bilateral ties are reaching "a point of no return", said Vladimir Vasilyev, chief research fellow at the Institute of the United States and Canada.

He predicted that until the end of Trump's presidential term, there will be no positive change in Moscow-Washington relations.

AP - Xinhua

(China Daily 08/11/2018 page8)

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