WASHINGTON, February 3. /TASS/. Anti-Russian sanctions remain among the options that the United States would consider after the US intelligence prepares a special review on Russia, Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.
"There is a holistic review of our relationship with Russia that takes into account the full range of Russia’s malign activity," he said. "We are not going to countenance the sorts of things that we’ve seen from the Russians in recent years, and that’s exactly what this review is intended to do: to review those and to help inform an appropriate policy response."
"The President has directed his DNI [Director of National Intelligence] to undertake this review precisely so that we can have a holistic picture of what the Russians have been up to in recent years so that we can ensure that our policy options - which would include sanctions but not necessarily be the extent of it - are calibrated appropriately. <…> As a general rule <…> we’re not going to speak to any sanctions before we enact them," Price said.
During the briefing, he was also asked to comment on Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s words that the incident involving blgger Alexei Navalny is a trumped-up theater unless the Western nations provide evidence to the contrary.
"This was one of those elements that is under review by the director of national intelligence. I think obviously, we do not agree with that assessment. I think if you ask our German allies, they would not agree with that assessment. But I assume we’ll have more to say when that review is conducted," the spokesman said.
He also expressed hope for release of US citizens who are detained in Russia, including Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan.
"When it comes to Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, we continue to be seriously concerned," Price said. "We hope Russia will do the right thing and return them to their families in the United States.".