New US sanctions law could undermine relations with Russia: Lavrov

New US sanctions law could undermine relations with Russia: Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

MOSCOW - New US legislation authorising sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis could undermine relations between Moscow and Washington for a long time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Friday.

In a phone call with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Lavrov said that the new legislation "threatening new sanctions against Russia could undermine the possibility of normal cooperation between our countries for a long time," said a foreign ministry statement.

President Barack Obama on Thursday signed a law giving him the authority to impose new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. He said he was not about to change the sanctions regime on Russia, which is experiencing a dire economic crisis, but that his administration would "continue to review and calibrate our sanctions to respond to Russia's actions."

The United States is calling for Russia to pull out of Crimea, Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula that it annexed in March, and to stop aiding pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia says it has the historic right to Crimea and that its troops are not in eastern Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin at his end-of-year news conference on Thursday made it clear he was not willing to compromise on Russia's position on Ukraine.

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