Russia calls on the US to stop playing “geopolitical games,” and says Moscow does not understand the latest US sanctions against Russia over the situation in Syria.
“It is clear that this is a new, complicated moment in relations,” said Sergei Ryabkov on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, the United States put sanctions on 10 targets, claiming they are supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The US Treasury Department said it would freeze the assets of the four people and six entities, and bar US nationals from doing business with them.
Among the sanctioned individuals is World Chess Federation President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who was “materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the government of Syria, Central Bank of Syria.”
A Syrian businessman, Mudalal Khuri, is also on the list. Khuri and Ilyumzhinov co-own the Russian Financial Alliance Bank, which is also blacklisted by the US. Cypriot businessman Nicos Nicolaou was also sanctioned for his business relations with Khuri. Syrian businessman George Haswani and his HESCO company are also on the list.
Four other companies – namely Primax, Hudsotrade, Ezegoo and Kremsont – were subject to the restrictive measures due to their association with Khuri and Nicolaou.
Russia and the US are at loggerheads over Assad’s role in the future of Syria, where the conflict has claimed over 250,000 lives since March 2011.
The US maintains that Assad is not part of a solution to the Syrian crisis but Russia strongly opposes Assad’s ouster and has warned that calls on Assad to step down will only undermine efforts to end the conflict.