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Russia slams ‘hostile’ new U.S. sanctions and vows to retaliate

Moscow rejected new sanctions imposed on it by the U.S. late Tuesday, describing the restrictions led by President Joe Biden’s administration as “hostile. Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said last night that it would retaliate against what it said was a “counterproductive” act that aggravated bilateral relations further.

“This is just a pretext for the continuing undisguised interference in our domestic affairs, and we will not accept this,” Maria Zakharova, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Based on the principle of reciprocity, we will respond but not necessarily with symmetrical measures.”

She added that sanctions would fail: “Any hopes to impose something on Russia by way of sanctions or other pressure have failed in the past and will fail now.” She did not elaborate on how Russia might respond, however.

The comments come after the U.S. imposed further sanctions on Russia for its suspected poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny last year. Washington imposed restrictions against seven senior Russian officials and on 14 entities “based on their proliferation activities in support of Russia’s weapons of mass destruction programs and chemical weapons activities,” the U.S. State Department said.

Navalny, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was poisoned with a military-grade Novichok nerve agent in August. Navalny was flown to Germany where he was treated, and recovered from the poisoning. The Kremlin denied any involvement in the poisoning that Navalny claimed was politically motivated.

On Navalny’s return to Russia from Germany in January, he was immediately detained and charged with violating his probation for a previous suspended sentence.

At a subsequent trial in early February, Navalny argued he could not attend the hearing given that he was in a coma following the poisoning. Nonetheless, he was handed a 3½-year jail sentence with 10 months deducted for time spent under house arrest.

Russia slams ‘hostile’ new U.S. sanctions and vows to retaliate, CNBC, Mar 2

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