Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that new sanctions by the US Senate against Russia will complicate the relations between the two states, noting that it is too early to talk about retaliatory measures.
Putin made the remarks in an interview with Rossiya1 state TV channel, excerpts of which were released on Saturday.
“This will, indeed, complicate Russia-American relations. I think this is harmful,” the Russian president said.
Putin noted that Russia needs to see how the situation evolves, saying, “That is why it is premature to speak publicly about our retaliatory actions.”
The sanctions were approved by the US Senate on Thursday by 98 to 2, but it still needs to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by US President Donald Trump to become law. Trump is believed to be skeptical of anti-Russia moves, and White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Thursday that the Trump administration was still reviewing the Senate legislation.
The sanctions bill mainly affect firms cooperating with Russian oil and gas companies, including BASF, Shell, Engie, OMV, Wintershall, and Uniper taking part in the Nord Stream 2 project.
American policymakers are considering the new round of sanctions in an attempt to punish Russia for alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and for backing the government in Damascus since the Syrian crisis started in March 2011.
Germany and Austria have criticized Senate’s new anti-Russia sanctions, calling them an instance of American interference in European affairs.
Russia and the West have been imposing sanctions against each other since the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea seceded from Ukraine and rejoined Russia in 2014.
While the West’s economic and financial sanctions harmed Russian exports, Moscow retaliated by banning imports of Western food and barred some individuals from entering Russia.