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Russian anger as Donald Trump signs bill imposing new sanctions

Moscow claimed the US president had been outmanoeuvred by the US Congress.

Russian officials and politicians have vented their frustration with US President Donald Trump’s decision to sign a bill imposing new sanctions on the country.

In an emotional Facebook post, Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev described the move as a humiliating defeat for Mr Trump.

The Russian Foreign Ministry warned of possible new retaliatory measures.

“The hope for improving our relations with the new US administration is now over,” said Mr Medvedev, who served as Russian president in 2008-2012 before stepping down to allow Vladimir Putin to reclaim the job.

The Kremlin had been encouraged by Mr Trump’s campaign promises to improve the Russia-US ties that had grown increasingly strained under former president Barack Obama.

With the White House preoccupied by congressional and FBI investigations into links between the Trump campaign and Russia, the hoped-for relationship reset has not materialised.

“Trump’s administration has demonstrated total impotence by surrendering its executive authority to Congress in the most humiliating way,” said Mr Medvedev, who presided during a brief period of improved relations early in Mr Obama’s presidency.

“The American establishment has won an overwhelming victory over Trump,” he added.

“The president wasn’t happy with the new sanctions, but he had to sign the bill. The topic of new sanctions was yet another way to put Trump in place.”

Mr Medvedev emphasised that the stiff new sanctions amount to the declaration of an “all-out trade war against Russia,” but added that it will cope with the challenge and only get stronger.

“We will continue to work calmly to develop our economy and social sphere, deal with import substitution and solve important government tasks counting primarily on ourselves,” he said.

“We have learned how to do it over the past few years.” Without waiting for Mr Trump to sign the bill, which was passed by the US Congress with overwhelming, veto-proof numbers, Russia fired back on Friday.

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Russian president Vladimir Putin (Maxim Shipenkov/AP)

It ordered deep cuts in the number of personnel working at the US embassy and consulates in Russia and the closure of a US recreational retreat and warehouse facilities.

It was the long-expected tit-for-tat response to Mr Obama’s move to expel 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two Russian recreational retreats in the US following allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Asked whether Moscow planned additional steps in response to Mr Trump signing the bill, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov answered that “retaliatory measures already have been taken”.

But shortly after, the Foreign Ministry warned that “we naturally reserve the right for other countermeasures”.

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