Russia wants the world to know that it’s not angry with Donald Trump, even after he signed a bill Wednesday imposing new sanctions on the country for interfering in the 2016 election. Instead it feels sorry for the U.S. president – who was “outwitted” by the U.S. establishment and has shown “total weakness” by “handing over executive power to Congress in the most humiliating way.”
In a Facebook post responding to Trump’s decision to finally sign off on a package of new sanctions — a week after they had been voted through Congress by overwhelming majority — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the move “ends hopes for improving our relations with the new U.S. administration [and] is a declaration of a full-fledged economic war on Russia.” He added that the legislation “changes the power balance in U.S. political circles.”
Although he ultimately signed it, Trump took the opportunity to voice his opposition to certain aspects of the bill, calling them unconstitutional. As well as imposing sanctions on Russia, the bill forces the president to seek congressional approval if he wants to have them removed later on.
Calling the bill “significantly flawed,” Trump said: “Despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity.” Medvedev concurred with Trump’s assessment, saying Trump “could not but sign the bill,” and claimed the aim of the sanctions was to “knock Trump down a peg” and ultimately to “remove him from power.”
Earlier this week Russian President Vladimir Putin hit back at the U.S. by ordering it to cut 755 diplomatic staff from Russia by September 1, while suggesting that further measures would be considered. However, when asked Wednesday evening if any more steps were being discussed, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters there would be “no new steps. Retaliatory measures have already been taken.”