Russia threatens to cut off US aid if Trump doesn’t agree to ‘reset’
Russia says it will cut off all US financial support to its Ukrainian partners if the United States does not agree to a “reset” of relations with Moscow.
In a statement Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign ministry said that Moscow would impose sanctions on the US “if the United Nations fails to resolve the Ukrainian crisis in a timely and peaceful manner.”
The statement comes amid a wave of criticism from the Trump administration for its handling of the crisis in Ukraine, including a recent visit to Kiev by Vice President Mike Pence and the appointment of a top White House official as special envoy to the country.
Russian diplomats in the United State have been urging the US to hold talks with Moscow and seek to reach a ceasefire deal.
The Kremlin said it was not surprised by the US move to cut aid to Ukraine.
“If the US administration does not follow the Russian course of conduct, then we will consider any means at our disposal to impose retaliatory measures against the US,” the statement read.
“We are prepared to take any measure to punish the US for this unacceptable and irresponsible action.”
The Ukrainian government is also threatening to suspend all international aid to Russia.
On Thursday, the head of Ukraine’s pro-Russia separatists warned that if the US did not accept the cease-fire agreement, he would cut off aid to the group.
“The Ukrainian government will make a decision, but I don’t want to give any details,” Alexander Zakharchenko said at a meeting of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
The rebels said in a statement that they would not allow any aid to reach their areas.
The United States has already cut off most of its assistance to Ukraine in response to the crisis.
The State Department said in January that it was suspending some of its $1.5 billion in assistance to the Ukrainian government, as well as its military assistance program and financial assistance to its armed forces.
The government said that it would continue to provide “lethal” equipment to the separatists.
The US has also stopped supplying Ukrainian forces with combat vehicles and other equipment that could be used to fight Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Congress on Wednesday that Russia’s actions in Ukraine were undermining the international process to end the war and threaten US national security interests.
“I would not have said that Russia is a major player in Ukraine,” Tillerson said during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
“It is the world’s number one violator of the ceasefire agreement.
It is a violator and an adversary of international peace and security, and it is a violation of our international obligations.”