Russia may ban more U.S. politicians over sanctions: deputy foreign minister

FILE PHOTO: Finnish President Sauli Niinisto (not in picture) meets Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Ryabkov at the President's Official Residence Mantyniemi, Helsinki, Finland September 12, 2017. Lehtikuva/Martti Kainulainen/via REUTERS/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow may ban more U.S. politicians from entering Russia as part of a response to a new round of U.S. sanctions, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with a Russian magazine published on Friday.

The United States is expected to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia on Aug. 27 that would curb Russia’s access to sensitive U.S. national security-controlled goods.

“We could respond symmetrically, asymmetrically, (or) we could lengthen our own list of ‘sanctioned’ politicians,” Ryabkov told the International Life magazine.

“It really doesn’t have to be a 100 percent mirror response. We cannot compete with the United States in the economic sphere because we are in different weight categories,” he said.

The comments were published a day after U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton met his Russian counterpart in Geneva, the highest level bilateral meeting since presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki last month.

Ryabkov told the magazine that Moscow had not yet noted any signs that the United States was ready to normalize relations and had noted attempts by Washington to revise tentative agreements reached by Putin and Trump at last month’s summit.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Osborn