SOCHI, November 1. /TASS/. The decision made by the US Department of the Treasure to bar Americans from supporting Russian oil projects related to geological survey and production in the Arctic did not come as a surprise to Moscow, but the fact itself is alarming, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Wednesday.
This action is consistent with the law signed by US President Donald Trump on August 2, he said. "Those who read this law carefully will easily notice that one of its provisions is a demand to restrict involvement of American individuals and physical entities in new projects in the Russian oil and gas sector, starting from a specific date in 2018," the diplomat pointed out.
"And, of course, though it did not come as a surprise to us, the fact that the sanctions regime continues to strengthen, as well as attempts to change our political course through sanctions, is deeply concerning," he noted.
Ryabkov also said that Moscow does not see any Washington’s actions to improve American-Russian relations. "We still don’t see anything save blurred signals of intention to improve relations with Russia," the diplomat stressed. "A spate of activities occurs, which we vehemently oppose."
"These actions are pushing relations between our countries nowhere and setting conditions for a permanent crisis," Ryabkov noted. "The American side is fully responsible for the current situation."
Still, Moscow will continue searching for a way out of the current situation in Russian-American relations, the Russian diplomat noted. "We will continue, as far as it is possible, searching for ways out of the current situation," he said. "We will try to bring Americans back to reality and show that such moves are hurting their own interests, among other things."
"The United States is more and more sinking into the sanctions craze, it has no other levers of carrying out foreign policy, besides the sanctions pressure against those who, due to some reasons, do not satisfy Washington," Ryabkov said.
"We have conducted a domestic survey, there are some 70 countries in the world, where the citizens and organizations somehow are the targets of US sanctions, and this is already a problem of a global and planet-scale," he stressed.
"Everyone remembers about the illegal seizure of Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States," the diplomat said. "We reserve the right to take tit-for-tat steps, but we do not stoop to these means and actions as we respect international law."
The diplomat stressed that the situation around Russia’s diplomatic facilities in the US is not just a problem of Russian-US relations. "This problem is much broader," he noted. "If the US allows itself to encroach on the foundation of diplomatic and consular relations, this means that in principle it may take the same steps against other countries."
"I would like to note that in line with all norms of developing diplomatic relations we have grounds to retaliate, and Washington should remember about this," he said.
In late July, the US Congress approved a draft law stipulating tougher unilateral sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. In particular, the document provides a legal basis for restrictive measures against Russia taken by the former Barack Obama administration on the basis of his orders. On August 2, Trump signed a law toughening sanctions against Russia.
The US administration released on Tuesday additional warnings for Russia’s foreign partners in the energy sector. During a special briefing for reporters held by the US Department of State by telephone, a high-profile American government official said that the issue is not about introduction of new American sanctions in this area. This is release of information that is aimed at providing clarity in plans for implementing sanctions, he said.