Russia: New US sanctions a 'declaration of economic war'

Russia: New US sanctions a 'declaration of economic war'

Russian is harshly warning the U.S. against further increasing sanctions, saying the new penalties announced this week "amount to a declaration of economic war."

The State Department announced its intention Wednesday of implementing new sanctions on Moscow in response to its involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter earlier this year in Salisbury, U.K., using a chemical agent. Russia has denied any involvement in the incident.

The sanctions would go into effect later this month and would restrict the licenses granted for exports of national security goods and technologies to Russia. 

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A congressional proposal to add sanctions targeting state-controlled banks and the freezing of Russian operations in dollars is also making its way around the Hill.

Current penalties on Moscow have already severely hurt the ruble’s value.

“If something like a ban on bank operations or currency use follows, it will amount to a declaration of economic war,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “And it will warrant a response with economic means, political means and, if necessary, other means. Our American friends should understand that.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin also chimed in, saying the sanctions reflected “possible new unfriendly steps by Washington.” 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE has repeatedly insisted that "no one has been tougher to Russia" than he has, though he has publicly praised Putin and sought warmer relations with Moscow.

Trump's relationship with Russia came under fresh scrutiny last month after his press conference with Putin in Finland in which he appeared to accept the Kremlin's denial that it did not interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Trump later backtracked, backing the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community, but he still said others apart from Moscow may have been involved.