Russia Blasts New U.S., EU Sanctions As 'Primitive' Measures
July 17, 2014
The Kremlin has blasted significantly strengthened U.S. and EU sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
In a July 17 statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the sanctions a 'primitive attempt to take revenge for the fact that events in Ukraine are developing differently from Washington's scenario,' adding that 'we do not intend to tolerate blackmail and reserve the right to take retaliatory measures.'
The ministry added, 'We have said many times that speaking with Russia in the language of sanctions, whatever their scale, is useless.'
On July 16, Washington announced new sanctions that for the first time directly target Russia's banking, military, and energy sectors. The sanctions affect a range of Russian companies -- from armaments producer Kalashnikov to energy companies such as Rosneft and Novatek.
The Foreign Ministry also chided the European Union, saying Russia is disappointed that the EU 'succumbed to U.S. blackmail.'
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on July 17 characterized sanctions as 'evil' and said such measures could never bring anyone to their knees.
Right after the sanctions were announced by Washington, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters on a visit to Brazil that the sanctions 'will push U.S.-Russian relations into a dead end and cause very serious damage.'
U.S. President Barack Obama announced the new sanctions over what he called a failure by Russia to take concrete steps to stop an escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine.
'What we are expecting is that the Russian leadership will see once again that its actions in Ukraine have consequences,' Obama said.
The shift in targeting sectors of the Russian economy indicated a harder approach to Russia by the Obama administration as the Ukraine crisis continues with no resolution in sight.
Meanwhile, EU leaders also agreed to expanded sanctions after a marathon meeting in Brussels.
An EU statement said the measures will target 'individuals or entities who actively provide material or financial support to the Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or destabilization of eastern Ukraine.'
The statement said that European countries would agree on names and entities by the end of the month.
The 28 leaders also agreed to suspend new investments in Russia by the EU's European Investment Bank and European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.
With reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, and AFP
Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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