Russian President, Vladimir Putin has threatened the US with retaliation if Washington goes ahead with its plans to impose sanctions on Russia.
US has accused Russia of interfering in its 2016 elections. Kremlin reportedly conducted an “influence” campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. Intelligence agencies believe that it had hacked the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the email account of John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The data obtained from these hacks were allegedly forwarded to Wikileaks.
US President Donald Trump has questioned the authenticity of the intelligence reports and has noted that other countries too could have played a role. He has also sought a more positive relationship with his counterpart in Russia.
US House of Representatives, seeking to punish Russia, has overwhelmingly voted for a bill that will impose hard sanctions on Russia. This bill will target Russian energy, financial, railways, shipping and metals and mining sectors.
Putin has denied claims of Russian interference. He repeated this assurance during his talk with Trump at the G-20 Summit.
Putin, who is currently on a visit to Finland, commented on the sanctions. He said, “As you know, we are exercising restraint and patience, but at some moment we'll have to retaliate. It's impossible to endlessly tolerate this boorishness towards our country. When will our response follow? What will it be? That will depend on the final version of the draft law which is now being debated in the U.S. Senate.”
He said that these sanctions were “illegal”.
The European Union has voiced its dissent against the proposed sanctions. It has warned Washington that these sanctions would hurt other European companies.
The bill has now reached the desk of the US president. It is still unclear if Trump will sign the bill into law.
Our assessment is that these sanctions might put the relationship between US and Russia to the level that existed during the Cold War . Ties have been tense between the two nations for years, especially after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. However, this bill would pit the two of the largest military powers against one another and could cause collateral damage to other nations with vested interests.