The number of American targets inside Russia for Kremlin retaliation is limited, particularly if Moscow is worried about damaging the investment climate or about other economic fallout.
External arenas, however, are a different matter. Moscow might have shown some restraint in eastern Ukraine or in Syria because of the expectation of improving ties with Washington, but now, the Kremlin may be looking for places to challenge the United States.
Referring to the vote by Congress to toughen the sanctions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, âThis yet again attests to the extreme aggressiveness of the United States when it comes to international affairs.â
Dmitri S. Peskov, the spokesman for President Vladimir V. Putin, said the Russian leader had approved the retaliatory measures despite saying a day earlier that he would wait for the final version of the law before taking any such steps.
The version that emerged from the Senate vote late Thursday seemed to be the final one, Mr. Peskov noted, and the White House has already suggested that it may reject this measure in favor of something even more onerous.
âThe White House said that the bill could be toughened, so it doesnât change the essence of the situation,â Mr. Peskov said.
It is unclear whether Mr. Trump will sign the legislation. But given the congressional investigations into possible collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin, and considering that the Republican Party has majorities in the House and the Senate, he is under considerable pressure not to use his veto.
The White House has been ambivalent about whether Mr. Trump will give his approval. During his campaign for the presidency, Mr. Trump pledged to improve ties with Russia.
The United States Embassy in Moscow issued a short statement confirming only that it had received the notification from the Foreign Ministry and that it was sending the orders to Washington for…