Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev and POTUS Donald Trump
Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev and POTUS Donald Trump

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev lashed the new US sanctions as a "full-fledged economic war" on Moscow, saying they crushed hopes for repairing ties and demonstrated President Donald Trump's "total weakness...in the most humiliating way."

Trump reluctantly signed off on the new sanctions Wednesday, bowing to domestic pressure after the White House failed to scupper the bill or water it down. Medvedev warned the move would have "consequences", saying, "It ends hopes for improving our relations with the new US administration."

"Second, it is a declaration of a full-fledged economic war on Russia," Medvedev said on his Facebook page. Taunting the notoriously thin-skinned US president, Medvedev added: "The Trump administration has shown its total weakness by handing over executive power to Congress in the most humiliating way".

Trump signed the legislation behind closed doors and his reluctance was on full display in an angry signing statement in which he called the legislation "significantly flawed." "In its haste to pass this legislation, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions," he said, including curbs on the president's ability to "negotiate" with Russia.

What does the legislation entail?
The legislation – which also includes measures against North Korea and Iran – targets the Russian energy sector, and placing curbs on some Russian weapons exporters. The sanctions seek to penalise the Kremlin for allegedly meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and for Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Iran fumes
Iran said yesterday that new US sanctions were a violation of its nuclear deal with world powers. Tehran says the new measures violate its 2015 deal with world powers that eased sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.

"We believe that the nuclear deal has been violated and we will react appropriately," said deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi, adding, "We will certainly not fall into the trap of US policy
and Trump."