Thursday, December 29, 2016

Russia to Adequately Respond to ‘Aggressive’ US Sanctions - Kremlin
December 30, 1:49 UTC+3

Peskov added that such moves are intended to deal a blow to both Russian-US relations and the future administration’s foreign policy

MOSCOW, December 30. /TASS/. Russia will give an adequate response to the fresh US sanctions that demonstrate the outgoing administration’s unpredictable aggression, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters late Thursday.

On many occasions, Russia has strongly denied any role in the attacks, including leaks of sensitive information that marred the electoral campaign of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. However, the outgoing Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia’s military intelligence and security officers and expelled 35 Russian diplomats over Moscow’s alleged role.

The Kremlin also hopes that the new US leadership will fix the outcome of Obama team’s "clumsy moves" and bilateral ties will improve when Donald Trump takes office.

Inconsistency and aggression by the White House

"From our point of view, such moves by Washington, by the incumbent US administration are regretfully a display of unpredictable and, arguably, aggressive foreign policy," the presidential spokesman said, adding that such moves are intended to deal a blow to both Russian-US relations and the future administration’s foreign policy.

"Even more perplexing is the fact that the decision on moves with such a devastating and destructive effect on bilateral relations are made by the (Obama) administration whose time in power is about to run out. This, undoubtedly, looks like an absolutely unexpected display of aggression," the Kremlin spokesman said.

He added that the type of aggression that President Vladimir Putin spoke of during his latest question-and-answer session earlier this month.

"Although he did not mention the United States of America among those potential aggressors, he did not pronounce this country’s name, but now we can witness practical manifestation of this," he said.

The Kremlin spokesman said the US side did not contact Moscow before imposing the sanctions, but made public statements that were "unprecedented in their aggressiveness at the current stage of international relations."

When asked whether the Russian leader will contact his US counterpart on the matter, Peskov said he was not aware of such plans. "I don’t think that we need to hurry," he added.

"As we have already said before, we believe such decisions, such sanctions to be groundless and illegal from the point of view of international law," Peskov said. "We reject such unfounded allegations and accusations against Russia."

Peskov commented on US President Barack Obama’s statements and the US administration’s decision to impose new sanctions on Russia. "We regret that president Obama and the US administration have made such a decision," Peskov noted. According to him, the Kremlin has been assessing these statements. "We are analyzing the details," he added.

Blow to Trump’s plans

Moscow believes that by imposing the sanctions in the waning days of his presidency, Obama is trying to disrupt his successor’s plans, Peskov said.

"We are convinced that such decisions by the incumbent administration, which by the way has only three weeks of work remaining, pursue two goals: first is to further spoil the Russian-US relations, which are already at their lowest, and, apparently, to deal a blow to the foreign policy plans of the future administration of the US president-elect," he said.

"However, the second matter is absolutely a domestic one and the Americans will have to sort out themselves how lawful this line of conduct is," the spokesman added. "A model of conduct is being forced on the future (White House) administration and president-elect (Donald Trump)."

US declares 35 Russian diplomats persona non grata

Peskov added that he has no information on whether Trump shares the anti-Russian vision of the outgoing administration, because the Russian and US leaders are yet to begin a substantial and serious dialogue.

‘What we do know is that there are attempts to impose a certain foreign policy direction on the new administration, to limit its freedom to make decisions and to somehow deprive it of its right to follow the path endorsed by the new president," he said.

Adequate response

The spokesman did not say what Russia’s response to sanctions will be, but, due to the principle of reciprocity, it will be "adequate."

"No doubt, the reaction based on the principle of reciprocity and will cause significant discomfort to the US side in the same areas. Anyway, the decision on such moves will be made by the president of Russia," he said.

Peskov said the Russian president would "to a certain extent take into account" the fact that the incumbent administration will resign in three weeks while deciding on Russia’s response.

"With regard to the transitional period now in Washington we still expect that we would be able to deal with the fallout from such clumsy moves, such clumsy steps, from behaving like a bull in a china shop and that sooner or later, through joint steps, we will take the path of normalizing our bilateral relations," he said.

According to Peskov, the Kremlin is "indisposed to exaggerate" the effect of Washington’s move.

Diplomatic story

Commenting on the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the United States, which the White House claimed came in response to alleged harassment of US diplomats in Moscow, Peskov said he could "only express total bewilderment over the situation."

He added that he could easily cite several examples of direct pressure on Russian diplomats in the United States.


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