Kremlin says US sanctions against Putin could 'rupture ties'

Kremlin says US sanctions against Putin could ‘rupture ties’

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MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Thursday that any U.S. sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin himself would cross the line and could lead to a “broken relationship”.

On Wednesday, Democratic senators to U.S. President Joe Biden threatened major consequences if Russia invaded Ukraine, including sanctions on Putin and Russian banks and $500 million in new security aid for Ukraine.

“Introducing sanctions against a head of state is crossing a line and comparable to a rupture of ties,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

The United States and its NATO allies held talks this week with Russia to ease tensions over Ukraine, where tens of thousands of Russian troops have massed on the border.

Two rounds of talks, in Geneva on Monday and Brussels on Wednesday, did not result in any breakthrough.

Peskov said Thursday the Kremlin viewed the US draft sanctions “extremely negatively”, particularly with “unsuccessful” talks ongoing.

He said discussions on sanctions had created little “constructive atmosphere”.

For the third round of talks, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the world’s largest security body, will meet in Vienna on Thursday. No breakthroughs are expected there either.

Peskov said that Russia had no “shortage of political will” to continue meetings but reiterated that Moscow needed to see concrete results.

He added that Moscow expected “concrete” written answers to Russia’s security demands in the coming days.

The high-stakes talks come amid fears of a Russian invasion of its pro-Western neighbor Ukraine. Moscow has demanded broad concessions from Washington and its NATO allies, which in turn have threatened harsh sanctions for any attack.

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