WASHINGTON, D.C. — The nation’s capital is on high alert following a thinly veiled threat issued Monday from Russian president Vladimir Putin.
In a statement issued by the Kremlin, Putin, angry over a lengthy list of sanctions put forth by President Donald Trump in retaliation for alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election, lashed out at the U.S., accusing U.S. officials of breaching “everything”.
“This is outrageous from the standpoint of legality and violates anything and everything,” said the Kremlin, who added it is considering “a large variety of options”.
“This is quite a new phenomenon and we are seeing the first manifestations of its negative impact,” said Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov.“Of course, it takes time to analyse it, to understand the extent of the real damage and to work out steps to improve the situation as much as possible.”
What exactly those options are, say insiders, is what is most concerning to military officials.
Putin’s statement comes after the sanctions, coupled with fears over increased conflict in Syria ravaged markets, sent Russian stocks plummeting, leading to the most devastating impact to the Russian economy in decades.
As a result, the rouble fell as much as 4.1 percent against the dollar, its largest drop since 2016.
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia reached a fever pitch last weekend when
President Donald Trump led international condemnation of a reported chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government. A visibly angry Trump warned there would be a “big price to pay” for the Syrian regime and it’s Russian and Iranian backers if reports of the alleged chemical attack were to be confirmed.
This is not the first time that Trump and Putin have gone head to head over the use of Chemical weapons in Syria. Although the two world leaders managed to work out their differences through peaceful negotiation in the past, White House insiders say Trump’s patience is quickly wearing thin.
On Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to lash out at Putin directly over the latest alleged attack, warning the Russian president that there would be a large price to pay if he finds out that Russia was at all involved.
“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,” the president tweeted.
“Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world.
“President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay.
“Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!”
In a separate statement, President Trump reiterated his condemnation of the attack and vowed to punish those accountable.
“If it’s Russia, if it’s Syria, if it’s Iran or all of them together, we’ll figure it out,” he said.
In response to Trump’s comments, Mr Peskov said: “We are analyzing the situation. The interests of our country are seen as of paramount importance.”