21:55 GMT +316 December 2017
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    Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., leaves a closed-door GOP policy luncheon at the Capitol in Washington

    McCain Strikes Back at Trump Blaming Congress for Bad US-Russia Ties

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    New US Sanctions Law Against Russia, Iran, N Korea Signed: Consequences (90)
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    US Senator John McCain responded to US President Donald Trump accusing Congress of deteriorating US ties with Russia amid new anti-Russian sanctions.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier on Thursday, Trump blamed the Congress for "an all-time & dangerous low" in relations between the United States and Russia. Trump was apparently referring to the bill he signed into law on Wednesday that included new sanctions against Russia and prevented Trump from lifting any current sanctions without congressional approval.

    The US senator, known as a vocal critic of Moscow and President Vladimir Putin, again blamed the Russian president for bad US-Russia ties despite the fact that Russia has repeatedly called for the normalization of bilateral relations.

    "Our relationship w[ith] Russia is at dangerous low," McCain stated in a Twitter message. "You can thank Putin for attacking our democracy, invading neighbors and threatening our allies."

    New US sanctions target Russia's defense, intelligence, mining, shipping and railway industries and restricts dealings with Russian banks and energy companies. The bill also stressed that the United States would continue to oppose the construction of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. The law also limits the US president's ability to ease any sanctions on Russia by requiring Congressional approval to lift any restrictions.

    Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry described the new sanctions as "absolutely illegitimate" and responded with its countermeasures, suspending the use of all US Embassy warehouses and its compound in Moscow. Russia also mandated that the US cut the size of its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 people by September 1.

    Prior to imposing countermeasures, Russian President Vladimir Putin said late July that Russia is behaving patiently amid sanctions, but time will come when Moscow will be forced to respond to arrogance, adding that if adopted, the US anti-Russia sanctions bill would be an "extra-cynical move."

    Russia has repeatedly refuted allegations it interfered in the 2016 US election, calling the claims absurd and intended to deflect public attention from pressing domestic issues.

    On Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said the new US sanctions against Russia were "absolutely illegitimate" and did not contribute to the development of trust between Moscow and Washington.

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    New US Sanctions Law Against Russia, Iran, N Korea Signed: Consequences (90)
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