Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it was preparing countermeasures in the wake of a decision by the U.S. Treasury Department to impose sanctions on four Russian individuals and one company that have ties to North Korea.
The targets include the Moscow-based Gefest-M and its director Ruben Kirakosyan for doing business with a North Korean entity involved in producing missiles.
Also sanctioned were Russian citizens Mikhail Pisklin, Andrei Serbin and Irina Huish, all suspected of illegal activities in the North Korean energy industry.
“Washington should have learned that for us the language of sanctions is unacceptable,” Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said in a statement on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.
Ryabkov said that the Kremlin is “beginning to work out an inevitable response” and blamed the United States for the deepening rift between the two countries triggered by new sanctions imposed by Trump on Russia in early August.
“We haven’t lost hope that the voice of reason will sooner or later triumph and that our American colleagues will realize the futility and harmful nature of the further unwinding of this sanctions spiral,” the statement said.
“The ‘trend set by the Barack Obama administration to continue the disintegration of bilateral relations. Since the arrival of the new team in the White House, this is the fourth such kurtosis,” the statement said. “On such a depressing background, the reasoning of the American representatives about the desire to stabilize bilateral relations is extremely unconvincing. However, earlier these figures and the adoption of a well – known anti-Russian law were motivated by the desire to achieve their improvement.”
The Trump administration has been embroiled in allegations of collusion with Russia since moving into the White House.
A number of Trump administration officials suggested they may roll back punishment meted out by Obama for Russia’s meddling in last year’s election but Congress passed bipartisan legislation that frustrated those White House efforts as long as a number of investigations continue seeking out evidence of collusion, cover ups or other crimes.
The bill expands sanctions on Russian businesses in response to Moscow’s alleged meddling in U.S. presidential elections in 2016. It also codifies existing sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea, making them harder to lift.
Following the July 26, 2017 vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan labeled Russia “one of the most dangerous adversaries” of the United States.
Other sanctions have been imposed in response to Russia’s military incursion into the Ukraine and other former Soviet states.
Trump “is a hostage of Congress and anti-Russian hysteria,” said Alexei Pushkov, a Russian senator, on Twitter. “This is a new phase in the confrontation.”
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 10 entities and six individuals in response to North Korea’s ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), violations of United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolutions, and attempted evasion of U.S. sanctions.
The actions complement United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2371, enacted on August 5, 2017, and hold North Korea responsible for continued testing of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapon development.
“Treasury will continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and isolating them from the American financial system,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia, and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilize the region. We are taking actions consistent with UN sanctions to show that there are consequences for defying sanctions and providing support to North Korea, and to deter this activity in the future.”
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