JUST IN: Russia to pull back from using U.S. payment systems

In retaliation for the United States having imposed new sanctions, Russia is reportedly working to scale back its dependence on U.S. payment systems and the use of the American dollar as a settling currency.

“We will, of course, intensify work related to import substitution, reduction of dependence on U.S. payment systems, on the dollar as a settling currency and so on. It is becoming a vital need,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday, according to a Reuters report that cited the RIA news agency.

The report comes after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, had their first bilateral meeting following the Russia sanctions bill that President Trump signed into law last week.

Trump wasn’t thrilled about the terms of the bill – which in addition to imposing further sanctions on Russia also limits the president’s ability to lift the penalties – but he did sign the bipartisan measure into law on Wednesday.

The new U.S. financial penalties come in response to Russia’s military actions in Ukraine and Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Russia called the measure a “fully fledged trade war” and retaliated by ousting more than 750 U.S. diplomatic officials by Sept. 1 and taking over diplomatic property in Russia that was previously used by the American diplomats and their families.

These new reports of Russia moving away from U.S. economic systems signal that Russia is retaliating yet again to the latest U.S. sanctions.

Trump is now blaming Congress for inciting the renewal of a tense relationship with Moscow.

“By limiting the executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together,” Trump told lawmakers on Wednesday.

“Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can’t even give us [healthcare]!” he tweeted a day later.

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