Russia threatens retaliation over US sanctions

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov described the US bill to sanction Russia as 'weird and unacceptable'.

    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the US's decision to pass a bill to sanction Russia was 'the last straw' [Reuters]
    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the US's decision to pass a bill to sanction Russia was 'the last straw' [Reuters]

    A top Russian diplomat on Sunday lambasted the United States Congress for voting to sanction Russia and warned of retaliation by Moscow.

    Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov referred to a bill passed by Congress on Thursday to sanction his country as "weird and unacceptable", and said it was "the last straw".

    "If the US side decides to move further towards ... deterioration, we will answer. We will respond in kind. We will ... retaliate," he said.

    Ryabkov's comments came after Moscow ordered the United States on Friday to cut hundreds of diplomatic staff and said it would seize two US diplomatic properties as a response to the new sanctions that were approved nearly unanimously by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    OPINION: Wag the bear

    Ryabkov confirmed that the seizing of the properties was in response to the bill, but declined to say what other measures Russia is willing to take if the US continues to apply pressure.

    "We have a very rich toolbox at our disposal," he said. "It would be ridiculous on my part to start speculating on what may or may not happen. We are not gamblers. We are people who consider things very seriously and very responsibly. But I can assure you that different options are on the table and consideration is being given to all sorts of things."

    The United States-Russia relationship has become increasingly strained in the wake of the US intelligence agencies' conclusion that the Kremlin interfered in the US election to discredit Hillary Clinton and help President Donald Trump win the election.

    Russia has denied meddling in the US election.

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the former director of the FBI, is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race and whether or not Trump's campaign may have colluded with Russia - an allegation that Trump and his associates have staunchly denied.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency


    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.