- The Washington Times - Friday, March 16, 2018

Moscow is striking back against new U.S. sanctions by expanding the number of Americans on its “blacklist,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Friday.

“Those [American] politicians are playing with fire by destroying Russian-American relationship because simultaneously they shake global stability,” Mr. Ryabkov said, according to a report by the new service RIA.

It is the first retaliation for the Trump administration slapping new sanctions on Russian individuals and entities, including Russian spy agencies, for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and cyberattacks on the U.S.

Tension between the West and Russia reached the breaking point this month with a nerve-gas assassination attempt for a former double agent and his daughter in the U.K.

U.S. national security officials cited the assassination attempt and cyberattacks, including a series of attacks on America’s power grid, nuclear power plants and aviation, as contributing to the sanction regime.

Mr. Rybkov said adding more Americans to the “blacklist” would maintain Moscow’s policy of parity in sanctions.

SEE ALSO: Russia will expel British diplomats in poisoning standoff

The Trump administration expanded sanctions against Russia by 19 individuals and five entities, Russian spy agency FSB and Russia’s military intelligence agency GRU.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is expected to easily win re-election Sunday, has denied his country was involved in election meddling.

Moscow also denies involvement in the nerve-agent attack in Britain.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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