Top diplomat raps US bill to put Russia under ‘something like an economic blockade’

By Andrei Skvarsky.

In a fresh sign of waning hopes in Moscow of a rapprochement with the United States, a top Russian diplomat has slammed “ill-wishers” in the US Congress for a plan to put Russia under “something like an economic blockade”.

The target of Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov’s attack was a bill to ratchet up sanctions imposed on Russia by ex-president Barack Obama and prevent President Donald Trump from bypassing Congress in possibly lifting the most serious of them.

“With the domination of anti-Russian sentiments in [Congress], American legislators would in principle apparently be able to overrule a hypothetical presidential veto,” Russian state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Ryabkov as saying in a speech to the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament.

A fortnight before, Bloomberg and business communications agency EM said the Kremlin had ordered state media to cut back on their fawning coverage of Trump because of alleged frustration with the US president failing to have warmed towards Russia as much as Moscow had expected and because he had been getting more media attention in Russia recently than his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

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