Following the passage of a bill in the House of Representatives that would strengthen sanctions against Russia, the Kremlin has released an ominous warning to President Donald J. Trump and his administration.
On Wednesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the sanctions mark unchartered waters for the U.S.-Russia relationship and “don’t leave room for the normalization of relations” between the two international powers.
Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy chairman of the international affairs committee in the upper house of Russia’s parliament, said Russia has prepared “economic and political measures that will be adopted if the Senate and Trump support the bill.”
The bill marks the House of Representative’s disregard for President Trump’s request for lighter sanctions on Russia, following his friendly meeting with Putin at the G-20 summit three weeks ago. The bill to increase sanctions was passed nearly unanimously at 419-3. Hope for the Senate to take a softer approach on Russia is slim, as the body passed a bipartisan sanctions package in unanimous fashion last month.
Thus, it appears the White House is the only place in Washington where hope for rosier U.S.-Russia relations is still harbored.
“We all want this to become law before we leave here for the recess,” Sen. Bob Corker (R) of Tennessee, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters in Washington. He added, “The White House doesn’t like this bill. The State Department doesn’t like this bill. This bill is going to become law, okay?”
When it comes to getting the president’s attention, the Kremlin is doing all it can to make its voice louder than that of Congress.
Alexei Pushkov, a senator in Russia’s upper house of parliament, made a play to President Donald J. Trump’s pride. Pushkov took to Twitter, and launched a message saying Trump will give in and sign the bill into law because “he’s a prisoner of Congress and anti-Russian hysteria.”
However, members of Congress are doing all they can to limit the president’s influence on the matter, knowing full well any sanctions between the two countries hurt Russia a lot more than they hurt the United States, no matter the threatened “economic and political” response.
ABOUT Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov
Sergei Alexeyevich Ryabkov (born 8 July 1960) is the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation.
Ryabkov was born in Moscow in 1960. At age 22, in 1982, he graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Upon graduation, he immediately joined the Russian Foreign Ministry. In 1995, he worked in the Foreign Ministry’s Department of European Co-operation. In 2002, he worked as a counselor at the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC. In 2006, he returned to Moscow and was appointed head of his former department (the Department of European Co-operation). He was designated Deputy Foreign Minister in 2008.
Ryabkov speaks English fluently and frequently gives interviews to English-speaking media organizations. Ryabkov, for example, has been featured on the channel RT several times. He often speaks for the Foreign Ministry in commenting on nuclear and other disarmament negotiations, specifically such things as the New START treaty.
Sergei Ryabkov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister
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