China, Russia warn US of consequences over sanctions
Moscow and Beijing lashed out Friday at Washington’s new anti-Russian sanctions that also target China for the first time, warning the United States could face consequences. The United States is “playing with fire”, Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said, while Beijing voiced “strong indignation” over the move. United in their resentment of America’s global influence, China and Russia have sought in recent years to tighten up their ties and this month conducted week-long joint military drills, Moscow’s largest ever war games. On Thursday, China — which is also locked in a trade war with Washington — got caught up in the sanctions war against Russia as the United States announced a new raft of measures that would punish third countries for dealing with Moscow. Stepping up pressure on Moscow over its “malign activities,” the US State Department said it was placing financial sanctions on the Equipment Development Department of the Chinese Ministry of Defence, and its top administrator, for its recent purchase of Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to-air missile systems. Beijing on Friday urged the United States to withdraw sanctions or “bear the consequences”. “The US actions have seriously violated the basic principles of international relations and seriously damaged the relations between the two countries and the two militaries,” said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, adding Beijing had lodged an official protest with the United States. “We strongly urge the US to immediately correct their mistake and withdraw their so-called sanctions, otherwise the US will have to bear the consequences.” US officials said it was the first time a third country has been punished under the CAATSA sanctions legislation for dealing with Russia, signalling Donald Trump’s administration will risk relations with other countries in its campaign against Moscow.