Russia warns US it is ‘playing with fire’ with sanctions

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Sergei Ryabkov

Moscow said Friday Washington’s latest raft of anti-Russian sanctions that also target China undermined global stability, warning the United States against “playing with fire.”

“It would be good for them to remember there is such a concept as global stability which they are thoughtlessly undermining by whipping up tensions in Russian-American ties,” deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said in a statement.

“Playing with fire is silly, it can become dangerous,” he added.

“We recommend that Washington’s operators of the sanctions machine at least superficially acquaint themselves with our history to stop going round in circles.”

On Thursday, the United States expanded its sanctions war against Russia to China, for the first time announcing punitive measures against a Chinese military organisation for buying Russian fighter jets and missiles.

The State Department also announced it was placing 33 Russian intelligence and military-linked actors on its sanctions blacklist.

All of them defence related firms, officers of the GRU military intelligence agency, and people associated with the Saint Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency disinformation group have been on previous US sanctions lists and 28 of them have already been indicted by Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia election meddling.

Ryabkov reiterated that none of the rounds of sanctions had managed to force Russia to change its course so far.

“The numerous American ‘black lists’ increasingly repeat each other. It is funny but it is so,” he said.

“It appears that it has become a sort of national pastime there,” Ryabkov said, adding that the latest round of anti-Russian measures was the 60th since 2011.