Russian embassy comments on new U.S. sanctions

Dr Blanshard paid tribute to hospital staff who worked during the'enormously testing recent weeks

Moscow said the new U.S. restrictions will be faced with "a firm response", urging Washington to "swiftly give up on the illusion that one can communicate with [Russia] using the language of sanctions". In January, lists of Russian officials and oligarchs were published by the State Department and Treasury.

The officials ticked through a list of complaints about Russia's actions beyond its borders, including its annexation of Crimea, backing of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, and cyber-hacking.

"The United States has made yet another erroneous step to destroy the freedom of enterprise and competition, to impair integration processes in the global economy", the embassy said.

U.S. democracy is being degraded as Washington is using all means to maintain its global hegemony, even those measures that harm the American people, Moscow has said, reacting to the new round of anti-Russian sanctions.

Preparations for a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be affected by sweeping U.S. sanctions imposed on Friday on Russian government officials and businessmen, the White House said.

As a result of the punishment, all assets of the designated persons and entities that are subject to United States jurisdiction are frozen, and USA persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.

Yet even as it rolled out the new penalties, Mr Trump's administration left open the possibility of "a good relationship with Russia" in the future.

"The requisitioning of private property and other people's money is known as theft", the ministry added.

The fresh sanctions are the latest step by the USA against Russia following the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England, interference in the USA 2016 election and a cyberattack, CNN said.

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Following the alleged murder attempt of Skripals by nerve agent on British soil, United Kingdom government had expelled 23 diplomats from London which was reciprocated by Russian Foreign Ministry with expulsion of similar number of British diplomats.

Campaigners against Kremlin corruption welcomed the United States move. And last month, the USA targeted 19 Russians and five Russian entities with sanctions in the first use of the new sanctions powers Congress passed past year in response to the election meddling.

In parallel, and to Trump's fury, former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Robert Mueller has been empowered as a special prosecutor to investigate possible collusion between the president's campaign and Russian Federation.

Trump begrudgingly signed the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) in August past year, despite arguing that it undermined his own authority to lead USA foreign policy.

So far Mueller has indicted 19 people, including 13 Russians, and reports suggest he may soon ask to interview Trump himself. "Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government's destabilizing activities".

But the move is likely to provoke a strong response from the Kremlin, which has expressed increasing exasperation with Washington's policies under the Trump administration despite hopes that the president may take a softer approach toward Moscow.

"The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites", said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

Ties had already plummeted to a post Cold War low over last month's attack on a former Russian double agent living in England.

"Washington has delivered yet another blow on the Russian-US relations". In tandem with European allies, the Trump administration expelled dozens of Russian diplomats and shut down the Russian consulate in Seattle.

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