MOSCOW (Dispatches) -- Russia will not delay adopting legislation in response to new U.S. sanctions, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday, RIA news agency reported.
Senior members of the lower house of parliament have said they are considering legislation to give the Kremlin powers to ban or restrict a list of U.S. imports.
Ryabkov said Moscow was discussing what he called Washington's abuse of the dollar's status as the global reserve currency.
The White House said Monday it is considering additional sanctions on Russia following a suspected poison gas attack in Syria, but has not made a decision yet.
"We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
She did not say why sanctions would be imposed but the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Sunday that the United States was preparing new sanctions on Russia over its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
If the U.S. sanctions are enacted, they will be the second such batch in just over a year.
The United States also imposed sanctions on 24 Russians earlier this month over what U.S. intelligence agencies have said was interference in the U.S. presidential election. Moscow has denied any wrongdoing.
Washington has said it had proof that Syrian forces conducted a deadly chemical weapons attack April 7, although a visit by chemical weapons inspectors to the suspected attack site was delayed Monday.
European Union foreign ministers on Monday threatened new sanctions against Syria, but held off from joining expected new punitive U.S. measures against Russia.
After Britain and France joined the United States in missile salvoes on Syria, EU foreign ministers discussed steps to mount pressure on the Syrian government.
France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his British counterpart Boris Johnson earlier briefed fellow ministers on the airstrikes on Saturday.
"It is very important to stress (the strikes are) not an attempt to change the tide of the war in Syria or to have a regime change,” Johnson told reporters.
Any new sanctions on Syria would build on a series of such EU measures since 2011, which range from an arms embargo and a ban on dealings with the Syrian central bank to travel bans and asset freezes on Syrian officials, military, business people and scientists.
In a separate session, ministers discussed Iran’s role in Syria’s war, but there was no breakthrough on whether to adopt new sanctions proposed by Britain, France and Germany on Iranians accused of helping the Syrian government.
EU diplomats said there was no discussion on Monday of targeting Russian military figures who, along with Iran, have helped Syria recapture terrorist-held territory.
EU diplomats cautioned that until European governments had more idea of what the United States was planning, it was not possible to quickly follow suit. In the past, EU measures have sometimes come months after Washington’s.
Russia is Europe’s biggest gas supplier and, while the EU has imposed significant sanctions on Moscow’s financial, energy and defense sectors over the crisis in Ukraine, close ties between Russia and some EU members complicate discussions about new punitive measures.
The EU is due to hold an international donor conference for Syria next week.
"There will be a solution involving everyone who has influence on the region,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in Luxembourg.