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New sanctions against Russia linked to upcoming US elections: Moscow

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova says the November elections in the United States are the reason behind the announcement of the next bunch of sanctions to be imposed by Washington against Moscow.

“It is autumn, yet another pre-elections period, pre-elections season in the United States of America. That’s it. The topic is hot – Russia, alleged intervention into elections,” Zakharova said on Friday, describing such motives for the White House as “primitive.”

The next elections in the US are to be held on November 6, 2018. Americans are to vote for members of the House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 Senate seats.

On August 8, the White House announced its new rounds of sanctions, including restrictions on trade and diplomatic ties, against Moscow in connection with the alleged poison attack on former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the British city of Salisbury back in March. The UK and its allies, including the US, accused Moscow of masterminding and orchestrating the attack.

Russia has since repeatedly denied any role in the incident, offering its assistance to Britain in the investigation. However, London has refused to provide information on the case, including any evidence on purported Russian interference.

The sanctions are slated to be imposed on Monday.

On Wednesday, Washington further imposed sanctions on two Russians, one Russian company and one Slovakian company for aiding another Russian firm in avoiding sanctions over the country’s alleged cyber-related activities.

It also sanctioned two Russian shipping companies and six ships over claims of transferring refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels.

The US has already introduced several rounds of sanctions against the government of President Vladimir Putin for what it calls Russia’s meddling in the US democratic process and its involvement in the Ukraine conflict. 

The development comes amid Russia’s diplomatic, economic and strategic measures to stave off possible impacts of the US sanctions. The measures include establishing closer diplomatic ties with Iran, Turkey, and the European Union, reducing holding of US treasury securities, and turning eastward in pursuit of a closer Eurasian partnership.

Earlier this month, Putin described the new US sanctions against Moscow as “a counterproductive and meaningless move.”

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