Trump could seek 'tougher' Russian Federation sanctions; Putin threatens retaliation

Trump could seek 'tougher' Russian Federation sanctions; Putin threatens retaliation

On July 14, Moscow warned that it was running out of patience in light of the stalemate that followed the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds in the United States, and mentioned possible retaliatory measures including the expulsion of diplomats.

Russia had originally threatened the ouster of diplomats and seizure of property in December after the USA ordered 35 Russian envoys out of the US and seized two embassy compounds outside NY and Washington in protest of alleged Russian meddling in the election.

The Russian Foreign Ministry's statement said the passage of the bill confirmed "the extreme aggression of the United States in worldwide affairs".

Lavrov added, however, that Moscow was "ready to normalize the bilateral relations with the USA and cooperate on important worldwide issues".

The retaliatory move comes after the US Congress approved new sanctions against Russian Federation.

"It's a great pity that Russian-US relations are being sacrificed to resolve questions of domestic politics", Putin said, specifying that "in this case, it is the battle between President Trump and his political opponents".

He added that some European Union concerns have been addressed in the latest draft law, but, "we remain vigilant".

According to the bill, US President Donald Trump would be barred from easing the Russian Federation sanctions without first getting permission from Congress, a demand that could imperil his bid for better relations with Moscow.

Trump has yet to sign off on the package.

The bill penalizes anyone who "knowingly, directly or indirectly, engaged in, facilitated, or was responsible for the online commercial activities" of the North Korean government, including online gambling, and authorizes sanctions against North Korea's overseas forced labor and slavery.

Germany and Austria in recent weeks criticized the planned penalties, saying they could affect European businesses involved in piping Russian natural gas.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Berlin won't let up in pushing for a joint approach.

The U.S. Congress does not suffer from endless gridlock as some of the banal liberal pundits and commentators moan about.

Moscow ordered the USA to reduce its diplomatic presence in Russia to 455 diplomats and staff, matching the number of Russian diplomats in the United States after then President Barack Obama expelled 35 in early January.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was also seizing a Moscow dacha compound used by U.S. diplomats for recreation, from August 1, as well as a USA diplomatic warehouse in Moscow.

The bill targeting Russia's major defense, mining, shipping and railway industries is yet to be approved by US President Donald Trump.

But the debate over the new measures has taken place against the backdrop of an ongoing investigation into alleged Russian meddling the in the 2016 presidential election.