Moscow/Washington: The Russian foreign ministry warned that the United States should not play with fire, taking an aggressive stand against Russia. On Tuesday, the United States announced strict sanctions against Russia over the Alexi Navalny issue. Russia has reacted strongly against it and has warned that reverse sanctions will be imposed. These sanctions imposed by the United States against Russia is the first major actions taken by Joe Biden after becoming the US President. Last year, in August, there had been a near-fatal poisoning attempt on Navalny. Accusations had been levelled against the Russian government that they had a hand in the poisoning. In January, on Navalny’s return to Russia, he was immediately sent to prison. The Navalny supporters have started an extensive agitation and continuous protests are being held in multiple Russian cities for the last one month. The Russian government has taken an aggressive stand against the protests; more than 8,000 protestors have been detained.
Intense reactions have emanated from Western countries over the poisoning of Navalny and Russia’s action against the Navalny supporters. Accusations are being levelled that President Putin is trying to suppress the voices of the opposition. Some European countries have even expelled Russian diplomats. It is believed that the United States has delivered a stern message to Russia by imposing sanctions thereafter. On Tuesday, President Biden announced sanctions against 7 senior Russian officials and 14 undertakings. These include the chief of Russian intelligence and two deputy Defence Ministers.
Acrid reaction has been received from Russia over this action taken by the Biden administration. The Russian foreign ministry warned ‘The United States has taken a stand of attacking Russia. Our colleagues should not attempt playing with fire.’ Maria Zakharova, the Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, said ‘US sanctions are a facade to interfere in internal Russian matters. Russia will never tolerate this. Even in the past, attempts to impose something onto Russia with sanctions and other pressures have failed and it will be the same even this time. Russia will retaliate against the United States in the same language.’
Following the United States, the European Union also announced sanctions against Russia. The Union has issued orders for entry ban against four senior Russian officials and clarified that their assets would be frozen. The European sanctions target the National Guard chief and a close associate of President Putin, Viktor Zolotov. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has already warned that if the Union imposed sanctions, Russia could severely sever its ties with Europe.