Russia will respond to the sanctions that the United States imposed against the Crimea, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. Medvedev wrote on his Facebook page that the relations between Russia and the United States would be "poisoned for decades."
Washington has recently passed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act 2014. The document allows any president of the United States to use sanctions against Russia at any time. After the adoption of the document, Obama announced the economic blockade of the Crimea.
"The US president signed the anti-Russian law authorizing any US president to use sanctions against our country at any time. As in the case with the Jackson-Vanik amendment, our relations with America will be poisoned for decades," Medvedev wrote.
Medvedev also mentioned the bill to waive Ukraine's non-aligned status, which Ukrainian President Poroshenko had sent to the Verkhovna Rada. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that the document was Ukraine's application for NATO membership. According to Medvedev, with such a move, Kiev was becoming Moscow's potential military adversary. "Both of these decisions will have highly negative consequences. Our country will have to respond to them," said Medvedev.
A month ago, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was concerned about Ukraine's steps towards NATO. According to Peskov, the Russian administration would like to obtain "absolute guarantees" that it will not happen.
Obama signed the decree on a new package of sanctions against the Crimea on 20 December. The US banned exports of American goods, technologies and services to the peninsula. The restrictions also affected natural persons and legal entities working in the region. American citizens were forbidden to do any business with them. The purpose of the decree was to clarify the situation to US corporations that operate in the Crimea, as well as to confirm that the United States would not accept "the occupation and attempted annexation of the Crimea by Russia."
The sanctions, in particular, affected Prosecutor of the Crimea Natalia Poklonskaya, leader of "Night Wolves" biker club Alexander "Surgeon" Zaldostanov, as well as representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics. Biker Alexander Zaldostanov thanked US President Barack Obama for such an assessment of his merits to the Fatherland. The head of the Crimea, Sergei Aksenov, called the adoption of the new package of sanctions "meaningless noise."
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, in turn, thanked the United States for the introduction of additional sanctions.
Obama signed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act on December 18. Obama then said that Washington was not going to impose additional sanctions against Russia. The next day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that the act could permanently undermine the cooperation between Russia and the United States. The United States imposed sanctions against the Crimea on 20 December.
Noteworthy, the Jackson-Vanik amendment to the Trade Act of the United States, to which Medvedev referred, was adopted in December 1974. The amendment introduced restrictions on trade with the Soviet Union due to the absence of the freedom of emigration in the Soviet Union. With the help of the Jackson-Vanik amendment, the United States obtained an opportunity to impose economic sanctions against the countries that accused the USA of violating human rights.
In late 2012, Obama repealed the document. The Jackson-Vanik amendment, in particular, was incompatible with the rules of the World Trade Organization. It was only after the abolition of the Jackson-Vanik amendment, when Russia started adopting all WTO rules.
Meanwhile, on December 13, 2014, two Russian Tu-95 bombers, known as Bear H under NATO classification, flew at low level flight over the US Island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean, where the largest US military base is stationed.
According to The Washington Free Beacon, it was the third time this month, when US air defense systems identified Russian aircraft over the territory of the island. The article does not indicate all dates, when the flights were detected, only noting that the first Bear aircraft were seen above Guam on December 7th.
Citing sources in the Pentagon, the publication claimed that the Russian bombers took off from the Kaliningrad region in the direction of Guam, "practicing simulated bombing." According to the article in The Washington Free Beacon, the flights of the Russian aircraft near Guam that have taken place in the past couple of years coincided with significant political events: the report from the President of the United States to the Congress in 2013, the meeting between US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit, and finally, the recent statement from Obama about the tightening of sanctions against Russia. In addition, on December 8, two Russian bombers were spotted off the coast of Alaska. The Canadian F-18 aircraft took off were forced to enter the intercept. According to The Washington Free Beacon, such missions were Russia's attempts to rattle nuclear sabers.
Two Tu-95MS appeared off the coast of Alaska in September 2014. The Russian bombers were identified by Canadian and American air defense, but they did not violate the sovereign airspace of either the US or Canada.
Chief of the Russian Air Force, Colonel-General, Viktor Bondarev, said that Russian military aircraft were conducting routine exercises, without violating any international rules. The Russian official paid attention to increased activities of the US Air Force and NATO over the territory of the Baltic countries (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia).