Russia trolled the United States with images of zombies from AMC’s hit show The Walking Dead in protest of the extension of U.S. sanctions related to the invasion of Ukraine.
“It is critical that Russia takes the steps necessary to comply with its obligations under the Minsk Agreements and to ensure a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Ukraine,” John E. Smith, acting director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said on Tuesday.
“By more closely matching our designations with those of our international partners and thwarting attempts to evade sanctions, we are once again demonstrating the United States’ unwavering resolve to pressure Russia to respect the security and sovereignty of Ukraine,” Smith added.
Thirty-four people and entities were added to the sanctions list in action the Treasury Department said was necessary “to counter attempts to circumvent these sanctions, to further align U.S. measures with those of its international allies, and to provide additional information to assist the private sector with sanctions compliance.”
That includes sanctions on a dozen entities for operating in occupied Crimea, including banks, wineries, a film production company (Yalta Film Studio), a Russian engineering firm and a health resort.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergey Ryabkov, complained to Interfax news agency that “the basis on which these decisions are made is wrong and has nothing in common with the reality that has taken shape in recent years in Crimea and southeastern Ukraine.”
“U.S. government agencies have been stubbornly acting like zombies knocking at an open door,” Ryabkov said. “They should be concerned with influencing Kiev, but it makes no sense to repeat this to people who act like zombies. They are fussing around, trying to prove something not even so much to us as to their clients in Kiev and their charges in Europe, who, as the U.S. Treasury explicitly reports, are only too eager to toe Washington’s line.”
The Russian official noted that “another series of sanctions declared shortly before the New Year will have the same lack of effect in terms of Washington’s end-goals and will mark yet another low in Russian-American relations, no matter how lamentable this is at this point.”
“Washington must understand that this decision will certainly have repercussions – as was the case before – in areas that are not easily calculated by the overseas sanctions policy-makers. Our colleagues in the U.S. shouldn’t be surprised when they find further changes in the established reality of Russian-American relations,” he continued.
Russia has banned several U.S. lawmakers who championed sanctions for the Ukraine invasion and/or the Kremlin’s abuse of human rights (the Magnitsky Act).
“Without waiting for Washington’s attempts to argue its case, I’d like to say in advance that we reject the predictable American attempts to represent their current actions as a clarification or a specification of the current sanctions rather than an extension, or as a method to prevent Russian circumvention of the earlier sanctions, that is, to reduce the matter to a less than articulate set of arguments. We will pull off any verbal wrappings that might cover their transparent desire,” Ryabkov said.
“…We won’t even urge the U.S. to influence, at long last, Kiev to fully implement the Minsk Agreements. We know that our appeals fall on deaf ears and we have come to the conclusion that this is Washington’s conscious political choice. But this choice is doomed to fail: the US will not get the results it wants.”
The Russian Embassy in Britain topped off Ryabkov’s comments today with a tweet comparing U.S. sanctions to The Walking Dead — complete with the disclaimer “image used for illustration purposes only.”