Russia calls new US sanctions illegal and ‘draconian’

Moscow rejects allegations it used nerve agent against former Russian spy, saying sanctions no threat to its economy.

Russia condemned new US sanctions as “draconian” on Thursday after news of the measures sent the rouble tumbling to two-year lows and sparked a wider asset sell-off.

The US State Department said on Wednesday it would impose new sanctions by the end of August after determining that Moscow used a nerve agent against a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, in Britain. It was an allegation Russia has repeatedly denied. 

Moscow has long cast the accusations as a Western plot to damage its reputation and provide a convenient pretext for more sanctions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, speaking to reporters on a conference call, said the US move was “absolutely unfriendly”.

“Making a linking to these events is for us unacceptable and such restrictions like those passed by the American side earlier … are absolutely illegal and do not correspond to international law,” said Peskov.

Russia’s embassy in the United States said Washington’s findings against it in the Skripal case were not backed by evidence, also describing them as “far-fetched”.

“We have grown accustomed to not hearing any facts or evidence,” an embassy statement said.

‘Police state’

A senior Russian legislator denounced the sanctions as “lynch law”.

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, said the US is behaving like a “police state, threatening and torturing a suspect to get evidence”.

Skripal, a former colonel in Russia’s military intelligence service, and his 33-year-old daughter were found slumped unconscious on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury in March after a liquid form of the Novichok type of nerve agent was applied to his home’s front door.

European countries and the United States expelled 100 Russian diplomats after the attack in the strongest action by President Donald Trump against Russia since he came to office.

Western sanctions have already drastically reduced Western involvement in Russian energy and commodities projects, including large-scale financing and exploration of hard-to-recover and deep-water resources.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the government and central bank had the tools to maintain financial stability and would use them if necessary.

Russia’s economy had demonstrated it was stable in the face of past sanctions, as well as fluctuations in the oil price, he said in a statement.

Source: News Agencies