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Russia's foreign ministry hits back at proposed USA sanctions and orders Washington to cut its diplomatic staff.

The bill would affect a range of Russian industries and might further hurt the Russian economy, already weakened by 2014 sanctions imposed after the Ukraine crisis. Putin also argued that "Russian-US relations are being sacrificed to resolve questions of domestic politics", specifying that "in this case, it is the battle between President (Donald) Trump and his political opponents". "And now these sanctions - they are also absolutely unlawful from the point of view of global law".

The legislation specifies that President Trump can't ease the sanctions without congressional approval. Reports of Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election have put a damper on hopes for better ties that the Kremlin had pinned on Trump's presidency.

Alexei Kudrin, a key economic adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is expressing serious concern about the new round of sanctions being imposed by the USA, saying they could severely curb the nation's economic growth, and prevent their economic recovery for decades to come.

"He may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians", White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci told CNN. Asked by a journalist whether Moscow has hope that the bill, which the House of Representatives passed on Tuesday, would be stalled in the Senate or be vetoed by President Donald Trump, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "You probably do, I am not talking about any hope".

A White House official said the bill would be reviewed, "but we strongly support sanctions against all three countries". However, Trump can impose new sanctions at any time through an executive order.

The bill underwent revisions to address concerns voiced by American oil and natural gas companies that sanctions specific to Russia's energy sector could backfire on them to Moscow's benefit.

"This bill doesn't preclude him from issuing tougher sanctions". What will it be?

Investigations into Russia's alleged meddling in the US presidential elections were merely a symptom of growing anti-Russian hysteria in the United States, Putin said. In his meeting this month with Putin on the sidelines of the Group of 20 leading rich and developing nations summit in Germany, Trump said he repeatedly addressed the topic of Russia's meddling in the US election.

The White House's rhetoric on the sanctions bill echoes that surrounding the president's controversial decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, which includes 194 countries. French President Emmanuel Macron told Trump the deal could not be renegotiated.


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