New Sanctions: Moscow Regrets Russia-US Ties 'Have Not Passed Strength Tests'

© Sputnik / Natalia Seliverstova / Go to the mediabankThe Moscow Kremlin towers. (File)
The Moscow Kremlin towers. (File) - Sputnik International
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Monday in an interview with the International Affairs magazine that Moscow and Washington should work together to find ways to minimize the damage inflicted by the new sanctions.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The deputy foreign minister said that Moscow is sorry that the US Congress has imposed its will on President Donald Trump's administration, pushing through a new round of sanctions.

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"It is sad that relations with Russia have not passed strength tests in terms of resistance to attacks, which have been on the increase in recent months, and ultimately the majority both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate actually imposed its will on the administration," Ryabkov said.

Ryabkov said that the latest US sanctions against Russia will have a lasting effect.

"In our estimate, it is really about an action that will have long-term consequences… It is hard to predict now how long it will take to at least work out a more or less normal modus operandi with the United States. We will strive for this, I confirm, but the problem is that without the authorization of both houses of Congress… it will be very difficult to get rid of them and it will take much time," Ryabkov said.

Ryabkov added by stating that Moscow hopes that Russia and the United States would avoid confrontation, although the latest US sanctions will have long-term consequences.

"As for confrontation, I would not go so far in generalizations. I hope that it will not come to a confrontation, and we will work to find ways to minimize the damage from what happened."

Speaking on the response to the sanctions, the politician said that Russia will intensify work to reduce its dependence on US payment systems and the dollar as payment currency.

“We of course will intensify work linked to import substitution, reduction of some dependence on US payment systems, the  dollar as payment currency and so on. This is becoming a necessity,” the official added.

Ryabkov expressed doubt that significant US-EU differences on the issue of anti-Russia sanctions were possible, adding that he did not believe in Europe’s independence.

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“I do not believe in the independence of today’s Europe as a stakeholder, especially in the Russian direction. Unfortunately, they themselves made quite a mess with us and created such a ballast which they will find hard to give up. So we shall see how things will go. But business lobbyism, economic interests are a factor. Nevertheless, I would not overestimate its importance in the new conditions,” Ryabkov said when asked regarding possible disagreements between the European Union and the United States over the consequences of the sanctions.

On August 2, US President Donald Trump signed a law which expanded sectoral sanctions against the Russian economy. The sanctions over Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election target the country's defense and economic sectors and restrict dealings with Russian banks and energy companies.

The law also limits the US president's ability to ease any sanctions on Russia by requiring Congress's approval to lift any restrictions.

Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations that it interfered in the US election, calling them absurd and intended to deflect public attention from other public concerns.

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