Anti-Russia sanctions harming fight against terrorism, says Putin
Moscow, Dec 22 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the rift created by anti-Moscow sanctions was affecting cooperation in the battle against terrorism, while Russias Foreign Ministry said that the recently introduced US sanctions “will not be left without reply”.
“All these restrictions in the economic and political spheres drive apart states, and prevent us from joining forces in combating a common evil — terrorism,” said the Russian President during a meeting with Russia’s top lawmakers in Moscow on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, the situation is not entirely in our hands. We hope that recent tragic events, including the attack in Germany, will prompt our partners to work more closely on this issue, which is important to all of us,” added Putin, referring to Monday’s truck attack in Berlin that left 12 persons killed and dozens injured.
Joint anti-terrorism and drug-trafficking operations between Russia and NATO have been suspended since Crimea’s secession from Ukraine in 2014.
Efforts to build an anti-Islamic State coalition in Syria also suffered a high-profile collapse this autumn, though Moscow has discussed reviving the drive with the incoming White House administration.
But relations with the US suffered a setback this week when Washington announced a raft of new sanctions against individuals and state-connected companies, and two ships connected to Crimea on Tuesday.
The US Treasury said the aim was to “maintain pressure on Russia by sustaining the costs of its occupation of Crimea and disrupting the activities of those who support the violence and instability in Ukraine.”
“Instead of focusing on coordinating efforts to fend off the challenges of our age, chiefly extremism and terrorism, the White House continues looking for ways to ‘punish’ us by inflicting pain,” said a Russian Foreign Ministry statement released on Wednesday.
“Washington should have learned a long time ago that these efforts are unpromising, and doomed to failure, and the new restrictions will not be left without reply.”
Without mentioning President-elect Donald Trump by name, the ministry appealed for the new administration to “drop the confrontational approach of the Administration of Barack Obama” and move to “practical steps to normalize bilateral relations.”