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Russia gives solemn warning over US sanctions bill

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (Photo by Reuters)

Russia says the recent approval of a sanctions bill against Moscow at the United States House of Representatives is a serious step toward destroying any chance for the improvement of ties with Washington.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday that Moscow had warned “dozens of times” that new sanctions would “not go unanswered.”

He said Moscow was growing tired of exercising restraint and that the sanctions were pushing Russia and the US “into uncharted territory both in a political and diplomatic sense.”

The US House of Representative on Tuesday voted to approve a bill that would slap new sanctions on Russia and force President Donald Trump to obtain Congress’ approval for the potential lifting of any sanctions on Moscow.

The bill would now head to the Senate, and a likely approval there would then send it to Trump’s desk for approval.

The Trump administration has been perceived as friendly to Russia and inherently opposed to sanctions on Moscow. But the administration has recently been sending mixed messages about whether or not Trump would sign the bill into law.

Ryabkov said the vote for the sanctions bill “goes beyond the realms of common sense.”

“The authors and sponsors of this bill are taking a very serious step toward destroying the possibilities for normalizing relations with Russia,” he said.

A prominent member of the upper house of Russia’s parliament, meanwhile, said Moscow should prepare a “painful” response to the move.

“In fact, [the] further degradation of bilateral cooperation is becoming inevitable,” Konstantin Kosachyov wrote in a message on his Facebook page.

The sanctions have been proposed over Russia’s alleged meddling in the US 2016 presidential election, which saw Trump winning the presidency. Moscow is accused of having colluded with the Trump campaign team in an effort to change the outcome of the election in his favor. Moscow has consistently denied the allegations.

An independent investigation is quietly underway in the US to probe the allegations of links between Trump and Russia.

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