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‘If US imposes new sanctions, Russia will have to react’

‘If US imposes new sanctions, Russia will have to react’
The US Congress has readied new sanctions on Russian weapons companies and investors in the country’s high-tech oil projects, but US president Barack Obama has yet to sign a corresponding bill into law.

“We will not be able to leave that without an answer,” Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying. He did not say what form of counter-measure Moscow might take. Relations between Russia and the United States are at their lowest since the Cold War because of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March and its support for pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The west says it has firm evidence that Russia has armed the rebels, an accusation that Moscow rejects, and has, together with the European Union, imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Russian individuals and large companies.

Russia retaliated to the earlier sanctions by restricting food imports from a range of western countries. Russia on Friday criticized the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, which foresees further sanctions, saying Washington was doing its utmost to “destroy the carcass of cooperation” between the two countries.

Kerry to meet Lavrov in Rome

Top US diplomat John Kerry is set to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Rome, both countries said on Saturday, amid Russian anger over the prospect of new US sanctions and possible supply of US weapons to Ukraine. The timing remained unclear.

A spokesman for the Russian embassy in Rome said the meeting would be on Sunday afternoon in the Italian capital, while the state department reiterated an earlier statement it was planned for Monday. Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov also said “agreement has been reached” on holding the talks on Sunday. Ryabkov said “the main focus at their 17th meeting this year would be on the Middle East.” 


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