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Russian legislator dismisses US tightening sanctions as ‘no disaster’

Russia should not "fall into panic, the US is not the only fish in the sea," Konstantin Kosachev said

MOSCOW, July 26. /TASS/. Chairman of the Federation Council’s (upper house) International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev does not deem any possible tightening of sanctions against Russia as a disaster.

"We don’t see anyone flying into a panic here, the situation is unpleasant but it is definitely not a disaster," Kosachev said, saying Russian officials from different echelons of power echo this view.

Under the sanctions, Russia will have to get used to a new situation when "no major reasons for building relations with the US will simply remain," he said. "At any rate, this bill, if it does become law, it certainly won’t create such reasons," he added.

"We are starting to live under different conditions, when cooperation between Russia and the US will be at a minimum. This is the Americans’ choice, and only the American side will be able to change it," the lawmaker emphasized.

Russia should not "fall into panic, the US is not the only fish in the sea, we must look for other opportunities for cooperation, other partners, there are plenty out there," Kosachev stressed.

He said the three years that have passed since sanctions were imposed on Russia, have demonstrated that these problems are not critical, and that Russia "is capable of coping with them".

Retaliation for sanctions should not harm Russian interests

Possible moves in retaliation for new US sanctions must not come to the detriment of the Russian interests and must be asymmetric, a senior legislator from the upper house of the Russian parliament told reporters on Wednesday.

"I don’t consider myself an expert in Russian-American relations, but I am personally convinced that if we get engaged into a certain symmetric game - tit for tat, it will be incorrect, it won’t meet our national interests and our possibilities," Konstantin Kosachev said.

He said he was "a strong supporter of asymmetric responses in this situation". "I am ready to welcome symmetry only as concerns our response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats and arrest of Russian property. I believe that time has come for symmetric responses in these cases," said Kosachev, the chairman of the Federation Council’s international affairs committee.

As for the rest that concerns trade, economic, scientific-technical cooperation, cooperation on major problems of the present-day world, settlement of regional conflicts, antiterrorist fight and other issues, "we must choose those directions of our retaliation measures that firstly won’t damage our own interests, and secondly will be painful for Americans," the legislator said.

"They should not be symbolic, be demonstration of plans. These measures must be determined by specialists," he went on.

The legislator also warned against hasty tit-for-tat moves, as the US has not passed the law on sanctions as of yet. "It is clear that chances are rather high. If it were up to (President Donald) Trump, I think he wouldn’t sign it, but he is demoralized and practically deprived of political will, or at least restricted in showing it," Kosachev said. "My forecast is that he will sign it into law, and it will come into effect, but our official reaction must come only to the law," he stressed.

Kosachev said the reaction must follow, "we cannot remain silent in this situation - the subject-matter of this law is too defiant, unjustified and extrajudicial".

Anti-Russian bill

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill to toughen individual US sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea.

A total of 419 lawmakers supported the bill, with only three votes against.

The document will be handed over to the Senate, where it enjoys widespread support from both Democrats and Republicans.

If approved by the US legislature, the bill will be forwarded to US President Donald Trump. Should the US president sign it into law, it would be possible to remove the sanctions only by adopting another piece of legislation. Over the past several days, the White House has been signaling that President Trump is ready to sign the document.