Russia vents frustration over Trump signing sanctions bill

MOSCOW — Russian officials and lawmakers on Wednesday vented their frustration with U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to sign a bill imposing new sanctions on Russia, warning that it will erode global stability and fuel conflicts.

In an emotional Facebook post, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described the move as a humiliating defeat for Trump. The Russian Foreign Ministry warned of possible new retaliatory measures.

“The hope for improving our relations with the new U.S. administration is now over,” said Medvedev, who served as Russian president in 2008-2012 before stepping down to allow Vladimir Putin to reclaim the job.

The Kremlin had been encouraged by Trump’s campaign promises to improve the Russia-U.S. ties that had grown increasingly strained under President Barack Obama. With the White House preoccupied by congressional and FBI investigations into links between the Trump campaign and Russia, the hoped-for relationship reset has not materialized.

“Trump’s administration has demonstrated total impotence by surrendering its executive authority to Congress in the most humiliating way,” said Medvedev, who presided during a brief period of improved relations early in Obama’s presidency.

“The American establishment has won an overwhelming victory over Trump,” he added. The president wasn’t happy with the new sanctions, but he had to sign the bill. The topic of new sanctions was yet another way to put Trump in place.”

Medvedev emphasized that the stiff new sanctions amount to the declaration of an “all-out trade war against Russia,” but added that it will cope with the challenge and only get stronger.

“We will continue to work calmly to develop our economy and social sphere, deal with import substitution and solve important government tasks counting primarily on ourselves,” he said. “We have learned how to do it over the past few years.”

Without waiting for Trump to sign the bill, which was passed by Congress with overwhelming, veto-proof numbers, Russia fired back Friday. It ordered deep cuts in the number of personnel working at the U.S. embassy and consulates in Russia and the closure of a U.S. recreational retreat and warehouse facilities.

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