Russia may hit back over US sanctions

(From left) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, US President Donald Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in the Oval Office on Tuesday. The Trump administration has unveiled additional sanctions on Russia ove
(From left) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, US President Donald Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in the Oval Office on Tuesday. The Trump administration has unveiled additional sanctions on Russia over its incursion into Ukraine.PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW • Russia is considering a range of retaliatory measures in response to a planned new round of United States sanctions to be imposed on Moscow over its role in Ukraine, the Kremlin said yesterday.

"It goes without saying that the main principle of reacting to sanctions is reciprocity," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. "At our experts' level, naturally, different variants (of Russian) sanctions are now being formulated and proposed."

Mr Peskov also said the Kremlin was not ruling out a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Germany next month, but "nothing concrete has so far been agreed".

The Trump administration on Tuesday unveiled sanctions on more than three dozen additional Russian individuals and organisations that have participated in the country's incursion into Ukraine.

The Treasury Department made the announcement on the same day that Mr Trump hosted President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine at the White House to discuss a peaceful resolution to the conflict with Russia.

The additional sanctions underscored the renewed tension in already abysmal relations between Washington and Moscow.

Mr Peskov also said Moscow regarded a US statement linking the lifting of sanctions on Russia to its withdrawal from eastern Ukraine as inappropriate and incorrect.

"We have repeatedly said Russia is not present on the territory of Donbass," Mr Peskov said, referring to a swathe of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists. "This is why we consider such statements inappropriate and incorrect."

A White House spokesman said US sanctions on Russia would remain in place until Moscow withdrew from eastern Ukraine.

REUTERS, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2017, with the headline 'Russia may hit back over US sanctions'. Print Edition | Subscribe