New sanc­tions could pitch re­la­tions to new low

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - NATION+WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON » Rus­sia typ­i­cally brushes off new U.S. sanc­tions. Not this time.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounce­ment of ex­port re­stric­tions in re­sponse to ac­cu­sa­tions Moscow used a nerve agent to poi­son a for­mer Rus­sian spy in Bri­tain sent the ru­ble tum­bling to a two-year low and drew a stern warn­ing from its prime min­is­ter. While the ini­tial sanc­tions may have a lim­ited im­pact, a sec­ond batch ex­pected within months could hit the Rus­sian econ­omy much harder and send al­ready tense re­la­tions into a tailspin.

If sanc­tions are ex­panded even fur­ther to tar­get Rus­sia’s top state-con­trolled banks, freez­ing their dol­lar trans­ac­tions — as pro­posed un­der leg­is­la­tion in­tro­duced in the Se­nate this month — it would amount to a “dec­la­ra­tion of eco­nomic war,” Rus­sian Prime Min­is­ter Dmitry Medvedev said Fri­day.

So much for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s hopes for bet­ter re­la­tions with Moscow.

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