Russia’s Latest Sanctions on U.S. Officials Turn to Trump Enemies
In a move that has stunned the political world, Russia has announced a new round of sanctions targeting top U.S. officials, including some of President Trump’s most vocal opponents. The move has been condemned by U.S. officials as “completely unacceptable” and “outrageous,” and is expected to further strain relations between the two countries.
The sanctions, which were announced on Monday, target a group of U.S. officials who have been vocal in their criticism of Russia’s human rights record and its involvement in the Ukraine conflict. Among those targeted are Senator John McCain, who has been a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who famously referred to Russia as a “reset button.”
According to a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry, the sanctions are in response to what the ministry called the “unfounded and unacceptable” actions of the U.S. government. The statement went on to accuse the U.S. of “systematically violating the rights of Russian citizens” and “interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations.”
The move is the latest in a series of escalating tensions between Russia and the U.S. that have been fueled by a range of issues, including Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The announcement of the new sanctions has been met with widespread condemnation in the U.S., with many politicians and commentators describing it as an attempt by Russia to undermine U.S. democracy.
“This is just the latest example of Russia’s blatant disregard for international norms and the rule of law,” said Senator McCain in a statement on Monday. “It is an affront to the values that we hold dear in the United States, and we must respond with force and determination.”
Other U.S. officials were similarly critical of the move, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson describing the sanctions as “completely unacceptable” and “outrageous.”
The Russian government has defended the move, with officials saying that it is necessary to ensure that Russia’s sovereignty and security are protected.
“Russia has always been a strong defender of its national interests, and this is just the latest example of that,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a statement. “We will not allow other countries to interfere in our internal affairs or undermine our security.”
The new sanctions come just days after the U.S. announced its own round of sanctions targeting several Russian individuals and companies, in what was seen as an attempt to counter Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
The move is also expected to have significant implications for U.S.-Russia relations, which have been strained for years. Many analysts predict that the new sanctions could lead to a further deterioration of relations between the two countries, and could even lead to a new Cold War.
Despite the backlash from the U.S., Russia has shown no signs of backing down, with officials saying that they are prepared to take further action if necessary.
“Russia will not be intimidated by these sanctions,” said Lavrov. “We will continue to defend our interests and our sovereignty, no matter what.”