US President Joe Biden tried to soften the rhetoric towards Russia by his speech but Moscow should not be misled by such statements and should take measures in response, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Committee on Foreign Affairs Vladimir Dzhabarov told TASS on Friday.
After fresh anti-Russian sanctions announced by Washington, Biden delivered a speech in the White House on the US administration’s policy towards Russia. The keynote of his speech was that the US administration hoped that Moscow would respond appropriately to get away from further confrontation. Biden also repeated his proposal that he should hold a summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Europe this summer.
"As it seemed to me, Biden was himself a little bit frightened by his bravery in his remarks two or three days ago. I believe that he strongly fears Russia’s tough response. We should see how things will develop. To my mind, this speech is an attempt to ease the situation that has emerged in relationship between our countries," the senator said.
"I believe that Russia should not be misled anyhow by these statements. We must toughly safeguard our position and take measures in response. If this is left without a response, we will get the next portion of sanctions and very quickly," he added.
Speaking about his telephone talk with Putin, Biden "urged [Moscow] and not demanded [that Moscow] refrain from any military action in Ukraine," the Russian senator noted.
"For the first time, a US leader’s rhetoric included the word ‘urged’ [in the context of the Ukrainian conflict]," Dzhabarov said. The Russian lawmaker pointed out that Biden always referred to the Russian leader as "President Putin" in his speech, instead of mentioning his last name as was the case before.
"He said that he had imposed sanctions but left a corridor of opportunities. He also said that the United States was unwilling to impose sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project so as not to affect the allies’ interests, meaning Germany," the senator stressed.
"That is his keynote: he is ready to step aside a little bit from his tough rhetoric," Dzhabarov said.
Package of US sanctions
US President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Thursday to impose new sanctions against Russia. In particular, Washington banned US companies from directly buying bonds issued by Russia’s Central Bank, National Wealth Fund or the Finance Ministry after June 14, 2021.
The US Treasury also imposed sanctions against 16 entities and 16 individuals over Moscow’s alleged interference in the US elections while eight citizens and companies were sanctioned over their ties with Crimea, including members of the republic’s government.
The United States will also expel 10 personnel from the Russian diplomatic mission in Washington D.C. whom the Biden administration considers as "representatives of Russian intelligence services."
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow will respond in kind to the new US sanctions. The new US restrictions will not contribute to an in-person meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden proposed by Washington, he added.