Russia Vows Response to Sanctions Will Be ‘Precise’ and ‘Painful’

If Vladimir Putin wins a fourth term in Sunday's Russian presidential election, that would take him to nearly quarter a century in power
SPUTNIK/AFP/Alexey NIKOLSKY

Valentina Matviyenko, speaker for the Russian Federation Council (i.e. the upper house of the Russian parliament), declared at a press conference on Wednesday that Russia’s response to the latest round of sanctions will be “precise, painful, and without question sensitive for exactly those countries that imposed them on Russia.”

“Sanctions are a double-edged sword and those who impose them should understand that sanctions against countries, especially those like Russia, will carry with them risks of serious consequences for those who impose them,” she warned.

Matviyenko added that it is “too early to say” when counter-sanctions will be imposed.

“The crucial thing for us at this moment is the law’s contents. We must approach this very carefully. However, it is certain that the legislation should be adopted during the spring session. The most important thing is quality, we are in no rush,” she said.

“We need to meticulously study all measures being put forward. The main principle is not to cause any harm to Russia through our own actions, not to harm Russia’s economy, separate industries, companies, business, and most importantly, our citizens,” she emphasized.

The lower house of the Russian parliament introduced a bill on Friday that could restrict a variety of imports and exports from the United States and other countries sanctioning Russia.

One measure in the bill is intended to cripple American aerospace company Boeing by cutting off exports of titanium and rare metals. Other counter-sanctions would hit the pharmaceutical industry, a prospect that alarmed Russian medical patients enough to require some calming reassurances from lawmakers.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration appears to have changed its mind about imposing another round of sanctions against Russia, although industries that could be affected by continued economic warfare remain nervous.

Some speculate different factions in the Trump administration are working at cross purposes, while others think President Trump is underwhelmed by the support for punitive measures against Russia has received from America’s allies. Russia’s unexpectedly muted response to U.S. airstrikes on Syria may have prompted the president to make a sudden decision to hold off on the next escalation of sanctions.

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