US-Russia Ties In Deeper Crisis As Moscow Terms Sanctions ‘trade War’

The U.S.-Russia relations are plunging into deeper crisis as President Donald Trump’s grudging signature on new sanctions evoked an explosive rhetorical response in Moscow.

Trump Wednesday reluctantly signed into law the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” targeting Russia, Iran and North Korea with a dissenting note because the law restricts his ability to ease sanctions in place against Russia.

The strong bipartisan congressional support for increased sanctions on Russia is a punishment for meddling in the US presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria.

The measure codified existing sanctions to make them more difficult to lift in the future, and prevent the President’s power to singlehandedly ease the sanctions.

It was a setback for Trump, who was unable to make good on his promise to improve relations with Russia.

He said in a statement after signing the Bill that while he favors tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior by the three countries, this legislation is significantly flawed.

He blamed the Congress of including “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions in its haste to pass this legislation.”

He pointed out that sections 253 and 257 of the Act purport to displace the President’s exclusive constitutional authority.

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reacted strongly to the bill’s signing, terming it a declaration of “fully-fledged trade war against Russia.”

The sanctions package “ends hopes for improving our relations with the new US administration,” according to the Prime Minister.

“The Trump administration demonstrated complete impotence, in the most humiliating manner, transferring executive powers to Congress,” which changes the power balance in US political circles, Medvedev wrote on Facebook.

“The US establishment fully outwitted Trump; the President is not happy about the new sanctions, yet he could not but sign the bill.”

He vowed that Russia would “calmly” continue to develop its economy, despite the sanctions.

The sanctions on Russia proposes to penalize firms that contribute to Russian energy development, shorten the duration of loans to Russian banks and oil and gas companies, and freeze assets of state-owned mining and railway companies.

by RTT Staff Writer

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