Russian PM: New sanctions amount to 'full-scale trade war'

Russian PM: New sanctions amount to 'full-scale trade war'
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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says that President Trump's decision on Wednesday to sign a measure imposing fresh sanctions on Russia amounts to a "full-scale trade war." 

In a sweeping condemnation of the sanctions package, Medvedev wrote on Facebook that the penalties effectively close the door on the Trump administration's efforts to warm relations with Moscow and demonstrate that the president is powerless in the face of Congress. 

"The hope that our relations with the new American administration would improve is finished," he wrote, according to a report by Reuters.

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In addition to imposing new penalties on Russia, Iran and North Korea, the bill signed Wednesday also limits the president's authority to lift them.

Trump signed the sanctions into law on Wednesday, but disparaged the measure as "flawed," saying he could make "far better deals" with foreign governments than Congress. 

In the weeks leading up to the signing, speculation swirled around whether the president would sign the new sanctions. On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to improve ties between Washington and Moscow and spoke fondly of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he once called a stronger leader than former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight Iran's president warns US will pay 'high cost' if Trump ditches nuclear deal MORE.

But Trump's efforts to warm relations with Russia have been complicated by the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia sought to meddle in the 2016 election and subsequent investigations into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow.

In a statement on Wednesday, the president said that he was signing the measure "for the sake of national unity."

In fact, Trump faced little choice on the sanctions. The bill cleared the Republican-controlled Congress with ease, meaning that a presidential veto almost certainly would have been overridden. 

After the sanctions were signed into law, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the Russian government may impose countermeasures on the U.S., according to Reuters.

"It's high time to realize that threats and attempts to exert pressure on Russia will not make it change its course or sacrifice its national interests," the ministry said in a statement.