Speed Reads


Russia threatens 'precise, painful' response to U.S. sanctions

The war of words is on.

Russian officials warned that Moscow would react to any U.S. sanctions with a "painful" response, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, promised that sanctions against Russia were forthcoming in a public statement Sunday. But since then, the White House has backpedaled, reportedly because President Trump pumped the brakes. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that sanctions were merely being "considered," while National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told reporters Tuesday that Haley "got ahead of the curve" by mentioning sanctions.

But a Russian parliament official, Valentina Matvienko, wasn't taking any chances, vowing a strong response if the U.S. decided to levy sanctions. Reuters reports that Russian state media quoted Matvienko denouncing existing economic sanctions and warning against future action. "Russia's response to the sanctions, our so-called counter-sanctions, will be precise, painful, and without question sensitive for exactly those countries that imposed [the sanctions] on Russia," said Matvienko. "Sanctions are a double-edged sword and those who impose them should understand that sanctions against countries, especially those like Russia, will carry with them risks of serious consequences."

Russian lawmakers are apparently ready to go on the offense, but the Kremlin doesn't think that will be necessary. State media reported that the U.S. had promised that no sanctions were on their way. "I can confirm that the U.S. has notified the Russian embassy that there will be no new sanctions for some time," a Russian foreign ministry source said.