Senior Russian officials and lawmakers on Wednesday attacked new financial sanctions passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, saying they ended hopes for the detente between Moscow and Washington that President Trump promised during his campaign. The new sanctions, which passed the House on Tuesday evening by an overwhelming vote of 419 to 3, targeted key Russian officials in retaliation for Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. Iran and North Korea were also targets. The sanctions’ passage cemented views in Moscow that Trump’s election has provided few deliverables for the Kremlin and that the American president is being held hostage by a foreign policy establishment that seeks conflict with Russia.
The sanctions also may prove to be an inflection point. Even for a relationship characterized by saber-rattling and dire predictions, the Russian response was notably stark.
“Washington is a source of danger,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, whose portfolio includes relations with the United States, told a state news agency in an interview. Later, he added, “Essentially, the possibilities for normalization of relations in the foreseeable future are closed.”