By: Zack Duvall
In some of the harshest rhetoric yet, Russian officials have slammed a new U.S. sanctions bill passed on Tuesday by the House of Representatives, that further punishes Moscow for alleged interference in the 2016 Presidential election.
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, told the Interfax news agency that current U.S.-Russian relations are venturing into “uncharted waters” in political and diplomatic terms.
“This is already having an extremely negative impact on the process of normalizing our relations.” Ryabkov went on to tell reporters during the interview. He also said that Russian officials were growing frustrated with having to show restraint while the U.S. continues to target Russia with additional diplomatic action.
Moscow has issued repeated warnings to the U.S. about continued sanctions and recently stepped that talk up to include the possibly of retaliatory action by officials in Russia. With the expulsion of Americans working for the U.S. government in Russia that authorities accuse of being spies.
The U.S. took action similar to that last year against Moscow, when 35 Russian diplomats were deported, and two-Russian diplomatic compounds were seized. The two compounds have been the source of tension between officials since the deportation of the Russian operatives because the U.S. government refuses to return the properties to Russia, and the Trump administration has refused to intervene in the dispute.
Russian rank-and-file politicians have also started to issue strong calls for stiff retaliation by Moscow, with some going as far as to call for a series of “painful” responses to the recent U.S. action.
Russian officials had been optimistic that the Trump administration would work with Moscow to deescalate tensions between the two countries, but have acknowledged recently that the political pressure from probes into alleged Trump team collusion with the Russian government have made it almost impossible for the Trump administration to work with Moscow.
White House officials have said that the president would not challenge the bill and “supports any legislation that is in the interest of national security.”