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Russia blasts ‘absurd’ US sanctions against Moscow

Cars drive in front of the headquarters of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, in Moscow on December 4, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Russia has vowed to give a proper "response" to the "absurd" US sanctions against Moscow, shortly after Washington imposed a new round of bans over Russia's alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis.

This “absurd sanctions campaign has not succeeded and will not lead to any results,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday, a few hours after the US Treasury announced its fresh sanctions against Moscow.

The new sanctions added 21 people, including Russian Deputy Energy Minister Andrey Cherezov, and nine companies to the sanctions list because of what Washington called Moscow's continued interference in Ukraine.

“If the American authorities prefer to break economic ties... with Russia, it is their right, as it is ours to reserve the right to a response,” the statement further said.

Washington and its allies had already levied broad economic sanctions against Russia over its alleged support for pro-Russia separatist forces in eastern Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia after a referendum in 2014.

The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, which was initiated by Kiev after it deployed forces to crack down on pro-democracy autonomy-seekers in the Russian-speaking region, has left more than 10,000 people dead.

The statement added that the fresh sanctions were imposed “under the pretext of inventing Russia’s involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.” It also asserted that the White House was merely “showing the whole world its own powerlessness.”

Washington has also imposed a series of sanctions against Russia as punishment over its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

The US intelligence community believes Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered a cyber campaign to help Donald Trump win the presidential race and defeat his main rival Hillary Clinton. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the accusation.

“Washington cannot shed the illusion that it is possible to scare us by refusing US visas or by trade bans,” the statement further said.

Earlier in the day, Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs, said that Moscow would retaliate.

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