'Don't play with fire': Russia warns US, its allies over sanctions on Navalny poisoning

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Mar 03, 2021, 01:38 PM(IST)

FILE Photograph:( AFP )

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The comments came after the US along with the European Union on Tuesday imposed penalties after US intelligence concluded that Russia was behind the poisoning of Navalny

Russia on Wednesday warned the United States it would "rebuff aggression" after Washington imposed sanctions on Kremlin's officials over the poisoning of prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny. 

"We will continue to systematically and resolutely defend our national interests and rebuff aggression," Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quoted as saying by news agency AFP. 

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She further threatened the United States that Kremlin's reaction would be based on "reciprocity and not necessarily symmetrically."

The comments came after the US along with the European Union on Tuesday imposed penalties after US intelligence concluded that Russia was behind the poisoning of Navalny. 

Also read | Sanctions will worsen strained ties with US: Russia on Navalny row

Accusing Washington of "trying to cultivate the image of an external enemy," the spokesperson asked the US and its European allies to "not play with fire". 

Biden's administration has frozen any US assets of seven Russian officials, including the director of FSB, Russia's intelligence organisation. 

It has also criminalised any transactions with these seven officials. 

The action has been taken after US intelligence assessed "with high confidence" that FSB officials poisoned Navalny with the nerve agent Novichok on August 20, 2020, a US official told reporters.

"The US government has exercised its authorities to send a clear signal that Russia's use of chemical weapons and abuse of human rights have severe consequences," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement said.


 

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