Can the US and Russia de-escalate rising tensions?

It was all-out verbal warfare this week as the United States imposed fresh sanctions on Russia.

US President Donald Trump reluctantly approved the new measure, saying the US would side with its allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilisation.

He added that considered the sanctions bill seriously flawed, and he said he was only signing it for the sake of national unity.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev responded by saying the sanctions end hopes for improving Russia’s relations with the new US administration.

He said Trump had been “fully outwitted” and his administration had “shown its total weakness by handing over executive power to Congress in the most humiliating way.”

Trump then tweeted that the US relationship with Russia was at “an all-time and very dangerous low”.

“You can thank Congress”, Trump said.

As the crisis between the two countries deepens, what’s behind this latest escalation?

Presenter: Richelle Carey


John Herbst – Director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council and former US ambassador to Ukraine

Pavel Felgenhauer – Columnist with the Novaya Gazetta newspaper

Lilit Gevorgyan – Senior economist and country risk analyst at IHS Markit

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In This Story: Russia

Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country located in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It extends from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the south.

Russia spans more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area, stretching eleven time zones, and bordering 16 sovereign nations. Moscow is the country’s capital.

The Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991 and since 1993 Russia been governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia is a major great power, with the world’s second-most powerful military, and the fourth-highest military expenditure. As a recognised nuclear-weapon state, the country possesses the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons.

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