Slow-witted and blinkered: Moscow slams ‘aggressive’ US sanctions, vows response

Washington’s policy on relations with Russia is apparently aimed at disrupting any normal dialogue, as it constantly invents new ‘false pretexts’ for introducing more sanctions, the Russian deputy foreign minister has said.

“As usual, [Washington provided] no evidence or justification while only throwing out vicious innuendos,” Sergey Ryabkov said in a statement on US accusations that Russia violated international restrictions on trade with North Korea and is engaging in some illicit activities in cyberspace.

He went on to say that US officials apparently follow the principle of “worse is better” as Washington’s policy effectively impedes any efforts aimed at improving or even just normalizing bilateral relations between the two nations. He also said that Moscow will not leave such moves without a response.

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“The US seeks to push its anti-North Korean agenda in a relevant UN Security Council committee,” the deputy foreign minister said, adding that such US efforts would “fail.”“We will counter the US slow-witted, blinkered and aggressive approach with sober-minded, orderly work on a constructive agenda,” he added. Ryabkov also said that Russia will respond to the US sanctions “in a way that would not harm its own interests.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the US Treasury Department announced that it imposed sanctions on two Russian individuals, three companies and six Russian-flagged ships over alleged violations in its trade with North Korea and its cyber-activities. The penalties have in particular been imposed over the Russian companies' alleged involvement in the banned ship-to-ship transfer of refined petroleum products to North Korea-flagged vessels.

Earlier this month, Ryabkov said that Moscow is working on retaliatory measures against the broadening sanctions list of the US.

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