Russian leader: Answer to U.S. sanctions will be ‘precise,’ ‘painful’

April 18 (UPI) — A Russian response to U.S. sanctions this month will be severe, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of Parliament said Wednesday.

“No one should be under any illusions,” Valentina Matvienko said. “Russia’s response to the sanctions, our so-called counter-sanctions, will be precise, painful, and without question sensitive for exactly those countries that imposed them on Russia.”

Matvienko is chairman of the Federation Council in the Duma and the highest-ranking legislator to speak on U.S. sanctions so far.

The United States added 38 Russian individuals and firms to a sanctions list on April 6 — including Rosobornexport, Russia’s largest arms trader.

The sanctions were motivated, the United States said, by Russian involvement in Crimean unification in 2014, support for the Syrian regime, hostilities in Ukraine and illegal cyberspace activity.

The Russian foreign ministry responded by saying the sanctions would be answered.

A response, in the form of a bill in Russia’s lower house, was introduced last week. It restricts U.S. exports of farm products, tobacco products and raw materials to Russia, as well as consulting and auditing companies.

The Kremlin has not yet said if it would support the bill. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday it’s too early to say if the United States has shown goodwill by delaying possible new sanctions on Russia, indicated by U.S. diplomat Nikki Haley earlier this week.

“It seems too early to judge about it and draw conclusions as to who has shown what under the current state of bilateral relations,” Peskov said.

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