The Kremlin said Wednesday that Russia will consider as "illegal" the new U.S. sanctions being imposed over the poisoning of a Russian spy in Britain.
The comments by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov follows Tuesday's statement by the State Department that the United States will impose a second round of sanctions over Russia's alleged use of a nerve agent on former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia in March.
Skripal had settled in Britain following a spy swap with Russia.
Under the U.S. law, Russia was required to end the use of the nerve agent Novichok, which was used in the attack. It also demanded that Russia promise not to use chemical weapons against its own people, and to allow on-site inspections by agencies like the United Nations.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that sanctions were being imposed because Russia had not complied with the demands, but did not say when they would be applied, Reuters reports.
In response, Peskov said Russia views the sanctions as "illegal" and "will treat similar steps in the same way if they follow."
He also took a dim view of the current state of U.S.-Russian relations.
"One can assume with a high degree of confidence that, of course, no bright prospects for normalizing Russian-American relations are in the offering," the Kremlin spokesman said when asked about bi-lateral relations after the November 6 midterm elections.
"It would hardly be possible to make them even more complicated," he said, according to the TASS news agency.
He stressed that, in spite of claims in the United States, Russia has never meddled in the electoral processes of any country, including the United States, and has "no intention of doing so in the future."
Despite the current strains, he said, "That does not mean, however, that we seek no dialogue, that we want no dialogue, because we have numerous problems that require Russian-American intercommunication."
Among the issues that need addressing, he said, are strategic stability and arms controls.
"These problems will not be solved by themselves without maintaining a dialogue," Peskov said.