" --IANS/EFE"
Moscow, Dec 19 (IANS/EFE) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expressed disappointment over a new round of sanctions on Russia for its role in the Ukraine conflict, the Russian foreign ministry said Friday.

In a telephone conversation with his US counterpart John Kerry, Lavrov said the Ukraine Freedom Support Act signed Thursday by President Barack Obama could undermine a return to normal relations between the two countries.

Although Obama signed the bill passed by Congress authorising the adoption of new sanctions against Moscow, the president said that he did not intend to impose punitive measures against Russia.

The law, which also authorises the US to provide weapons and non-military assistance to Ukraine, does not signal a change in the administration's sanctions policy towards Russia, Obama noted in a statement released by the White House.

Approved last week by Congress with bipartisan consensus, the law also authorises the president to introduce new sanctions against the Russian energy and weapons sectors, against gas giant Gazprom and state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport.

--IANS/EFE

ab/dg


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