After the US slapped sanctions on Kremlin-linked officials over the poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, Russia warned on Wednesday that it would "rebuff violence." In a joint action with the European Union, Washington imposed sanctions on Tuesday after US intelligence concluded that Moscow orchestrated the near-fatal poisoning of jailed Kremlin critic Navalny in August. She accused the US of "attempting to cultivate the picture of an external enemy" in order to divert focus away from domestic issues.
In a statement released late Tuesday, she said, "We advise our colleagues not to play with flames." The targeted sanctions announced Tuesday reflect US President Joe Biden's tougher stance, and they add to a long list of sanctions put on Russia by the EU and the US after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Zakharova echoed Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's earlier remarks, saying that Russia would respond in kind to the sanctions. "We will respond in accordance with the reciprocity principle, not necessarily in a symmetrical manner," she said.
Navalny was flown to Germany for treatment, but he returned defiantly in January, only to be arrested and sent to a penal colony after his accusations of Putin's corruption triggered major rallies.