'The threat of sanctions is a tool for Washington to divide the country’s big business and Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov has said. The Kremlin spokesman pointed out that the timing coincides with the approaching 2018 presidential election in Russia.
Dmitry Peskov was replying to questions submitted to him by an international news agency on Thursday. He didn’t mention the media outlet by name, but Reuters later revealed that they were the source of the questions. Among other things, the agency wanted to know whether Moscow agreed with the notion that the US was using sanctions to set Vladimir Putin’s supporters among major Russian businessmen against the President. “We are sure that this is the case,” Peskov said.
Another question read: “Do you think that these US efforts are timed to [affect] the presidential election in Russia?” The Kremlin press-secretary replied by saying: “We are convinced of this.”
A Reuters report on Thursday claimed that Russian business was worried about the threat of new US sanctions. The agency cited an unnamed top-manager of a Russian company who said that “people are on edge” in anticipation of the new sanction list to be put together by Washington in early 2018. “If they classify you as close to Putin, just try proving it’s not the case. The Americans’ tactics are clear: they need to cause pain in all ways possible for those who support Putin,” the source said.
However, Peskov said the Kremlin was “not aware” of any Russian business elite members who were angry with the Russian authorities over the US sanctions and blamed Putin for the situation.'
Read more: US sanctions aimed at turning business elite against Putin before election – Kremlin
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