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Russia’s counter-sanctions to be painful for US — Russian lawmaker

The United States will have to recall more than 30 diplomats from our country, the lawmaker said

MOSCOW, July 28. /TASS/. A senior Russian lawmaker has warned that Russia’s response to the fresh round of anti-Russian sanctions adopted by the US Senate would be painful for the United States.

"Obviously, our counter-sanctions are of a mirror character but in a sense tougher than those offered by the US side in December," Vyacheslav Nikonov, chairman of the education and science committee of the Russian State Dum lower parliament house, said on Friday.

"There are much more American diplomats in Russia than Russian diplomats in the United States. Equaling that number would mean that the United States will have to recall more than 30 diplomats from our country. So, our measures imposed on the United States are even tougher," he said.

As for closing access to US’ diplomatic compound in Serebryany Bor, Nikonov said it was an absolutely tit-for-tat response. More to it, in his words, denied access to warehouses in Moscow would be painful for US diplomats. "Actually, the US storage facility in Moscow is a big logistics terminal to deliver to our country whatever they want. It is a more painful response than what was done to our property," he said.

"Naturally, Russia leaves chances to resume dialogue on the return of property but now it will be conducted from the position of equal possibilities and will no longer be like begging the US to return what it has seized with no right to do that," the expert stressed.

Nikonov did not rule out that in case Washington imposes economic sanctions on Russia, Moscow would resort to other response measures, including targeting US companies operating in Russia.

"Further countersanctions are likely to follow if Washington resorts to economic sanctions," he said, adding that Russia is giving a signal to the United States that it would not leave the US administration’s further steps unanswered.

Nikonov, who is a member of the parliamentary group for relations with the US Congress, noted that he doesn’t expect the inter-parliamentary dialogue between Russia and the United States to resume soon. "Our group is idling but any attempts to establish even a video link with the US colleagues have been failing so far. I don’t expect resumption of this dialogue soon," he underscored.

As a matter of fact, according to the Russian lawmaker, it was Russia’s "response to the anti-Russian measures taken by the US administration [of former President Barack] Obama." "Back then, we offered no response to give a chance to the Donald Trump administration to revoke the illegal measures that run counter to all diplomatic norms acting in the world," he said.

"But, despite numerous attempts to resolve this problem, the American side has made no steps to meet us halfway. Hence, we have done what should have been done at the end of the last year," he stressed.

"These are deferred countersanctions. We gave Trump a chance but he has failed to use it," Nikonov said, adding that the response’s timing was not accidental. "Yesterday, the US Senate adopted a package of sanctions that was previously supported by the House of Representatives. Now the package goes to Trump," he reminded.