Lavrov says Moscow had to react to United States sanctions

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He dismissed Congressional investigations into Russia's alleged meddling in last year's US presidential election, calling them a symptom of growing anti-Russian hysteria in the United States and a result of USA domestic politics. It is aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad.

"We will respond to the new possible sanctions against Russian Federation according to the latest version of the bill evaluated by Washington", Putin said during a meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the country's Savonlinna province.

European Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein said Friday that European officials "will be watching how this process unfolds and then, of course, we'll be watching equally attentively how this law, . if and when it enters into force, will be applied in practice". He said he hoped "today's state of affairs will end at some point and we will move on to a new quality of relations, we will strengthen them and build them up in the interests of the peoples of the USA and Russian Federation".

Speaking at a news conference in Finland on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin derided the sanctions bill now in the U.S. Congress as "illegal under global law" - but he said Russia's response will depend on what ultimately gets passed.

"He may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are, or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians", Scaramucci said on CNN's "New Day", calling Trump's strategy on sanctions part of his "counterintuitive, counterpunching personality".

It also said it was barring the U.S. embassy from using a Moscow summer house and storage facility in the city from Aug 1.


Russia's Foreign Ministry says Minister Sergei Lavrov has told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a phone call that Moscow was forced to respond to the new package of US sanctions and that it is still willing to improve ties with Washington.

Shortly after the launch, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged other countries to take firm action against North Korea, saying any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a risky regime.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov met outgoing USA ambassador John Tefft on Friday to inform him of the counter measures, Russian news agencies reported. The veto-proof supermajority behind these bills all but insures that they will become the law of the land before long.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow, with a monument to Russian revolutionary workers in the foreground Friday, July 28, 2017. Those sanctions also include punishments for Iran and North Korea.

The outgoing Obama administration seized two Russian diplomatic compounds, one in NY and another in Maryland, at the same time as it expelled the Russian diplomats in December.

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