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Russia threatens to put US ‘in their place’

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Kremlin/Released)
March 17, 2022

On Thursday, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev — who currently serves as deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council — said the U.S. had led a “Russophobic” effort to destabilize Russia but warned his country is strong enough to put the U.S. in its place.

In comments reported by Reuters on Thursday, Medvedev said the U.S. and its allies had tried to undermine Russia with sanctions. “It will not work – Russia has the might to put all of our brash enemies in their place,” he added.

It was unclear what actions Medvedev believed Russia would use to put the U.S. and other countries that have recently sanctioned Russia “in their place.”

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine three weeks ago on Feb. 24, the U.S. and various European and Asian allies and partners have imposed dozens of new sanctions on Russia. The sanctions are meant to impose higher economic costs on Russia’s invasion and deter their aggression. The U.S. has sanctioned several major Russian financial institutions. The U.S. has also sanctioned several high-profile Russian officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden banned the import of Russian oil and gas in the U.S.

“That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at U.S. ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] war machine,” Biden said at the time.

On Tuesday, Russia did impose retaliatory sanctions for the U.S. sanctions that targeted Putin and other Russian officials. The Russian retaliatory sanctions targeted Biden, as well as his son Hunter Biden.

The new Russian sanctions also targeted Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, CIA Director William Burns, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Duleep Singh, Director of the Agency for International Development Samantha Powers, First Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Adewale Adeyemo and President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank Reta Joe Lewis.

After sanctioning Biden and the other 12 U.S. officials, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it would look to expand the list in the near future “by including top U.S. officials, military officials, lawmakers, businessmen, experts and media people who are Russophobic or contribute to inciting hatred towards Russia and the introduction of restrictive measures.”

It was not immediately clear how the Russian sanctions are intended to work and how effective the sanctions would actually be.

“It won’t surprise any of you that none of us are planning tourist trips to Russia and none of us have bank accounts that we won’t be able to access,” Psaki said on Tuesday when asked about Russia’s sanctions.

Last week, Axios reported that since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has become the most sanctioned country in the world, surpassing Iran.