MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Thursday, US Senate approved a bill that would impose sweeping sanctions on Russia and seeks, in particular, to target companies that invest in Russian energy projects. The bill now has to be either signed or vetoed by US President Donald Trump.
Now, the law will be sent for signature to President Donald Trump, who has the right to veto it. To overcome the veto, the Congress needs two-thirds of the votes in each chamber, which, based on the results of past votes, is very likely.
"I consider this law to be flawed, harmful for the United States itself, and doomed to failure. The goals formulated by the authors of this law will not be achieved," Ryabkov said in an interview with Rossiya-1 television.
The responsibility for the possible further deterioration of Russia-US relations as well as for forced Russian countermeasures will lie on Washington, the diplomat said.
"We are warning again, and now I am doing it publicly, the American side against trying to unravel the confrontational spiral, against trying to strike a blow after a blow at our relations," Ryabkov said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry suspended the use of all US Embassy warehouses and its compound in Moscow and also offered the US to cut down the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people by September 1. Moreover, the ministry said that it reserves the reciprocal right to hit US interests in response to the US sanctions bill.
"I say it again, the choice and assessment of the consequences of what is happening is wholly and entirely up to the Americans, it's in their court," Ryabkov stressed.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova sai on her Facebook page that Moscow has never purposefully undertook measures aimed at worsening bilateral relations with Washington.
"Russia has never taken actions aimed at deteriorating bilateral relations. We have only started responding at a certain point, but even then we took the longest pauses possible, hoping for our partners’ prudence until the end," Zakharova posted on her Facebook account.
Zakharova recalled that Russian diplomats in the United States had less than 24 hours for vacating diplomatic property and 72 hours to leave the United States.
Moscow waited for seven months and held several rounds of talks before introducing retaliatory measures against the US diplomats, Zakharova stressed, specifying that Russia did not respond with the expulsion of diplomats but merely offered a cut in the number of US diplomats in the country.
In December 2016, the administration of former US President Barack Obama imposed a set of punitive measures against Russia, including the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and the closure of the two Russian diplomatic compounds. The actions were taken in response to Moscow's alleged interference in the US presidential election, which Russia has repeatedly denied.
Back in December, Putin decided not to respond to sanctions imposed by the outgoing US administration and act in accordance with the ties built with the new US leadership. However, since then, the diplomatic property hasn't been returned. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier that Moscow would take retaliatory measures against Washington if the situation with Russia's diplomatic property in the United States was not resolved.