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Russian ambassador says US will probably design new sanctions against Russia anyway

Anatoly Antonov is sure that sanctions are unacceptable measures

WASHINGTON, February 9. /TASS/. Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said the US will design new anti-Russian sanctions in any event.

"We believe that essentially sanctions are unacceptable measures," he told reporters on Wednesday. "The sanctions that are approved by the United Nations Security Council are the ones that we do recognize."

He made the comments when asked if Moscow remained committed to the principle that any sanctions by Washington against the Russian leadership would be tantamount to breaking off of bilateral diplomatic relations.

"What is happening today in Washington and what is happening today at the Capitol is very difficult to explain in one or two sentences," he said. "It’s a contest among senators and congressmen in who is ready to hit Russia harder, propose some kind of sanctions that would cause serious damage to the economic and political image of our country."

"It is difficult to say today what the Democrats and Republicans will arrive at," Antonov said. "There is a feeling is that sanctions will be developed under any circumstances and the only question is when they will be imposed."

Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, earlier stated that some of the Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia that are being debated in the Senate could be applied preventively. He didn’t specify what restrictions he had in mind. The US administration previously opposed the preventive use of sanctions against Russia over Ukraine as, according to Washington, they would lose their deterrent effect in that case.

Earlier, a group of Democrat legislators led by Senator Bob Menendez introduced a bill to the US Senate, which is titled Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act of 2022. It stipulates, among other things, sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, heads of the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Defense, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, and other top military commanders. In addition, restrictive measures may affect the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. A similar bill was later introduced to the House of Representatives.

There has been a flurry of statements in the West and Kiev lately that Russia could invade Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said they were unsubstantiated escalation.