Moscow ready for more sanctions, regardless of Ukraine crisis – Foreign Ministry

© Vladimir Sergeev
Russia has no illusion about sanctions being lifted and expects them to be stiffened in future, regardless of developments in Eastern Ukraine. That’s according to a leading Russian diplomat, who says Moscow can live under continuous western pressure.

“We believe that in certain directions, notwithstanding of the developments in Donbass, we should expect toughening of the sanctions pressure,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said at the Russia Arms Expo 2015 in Nizhny Tagil on Wednesday.

According to Ryabkov, the new set of sanctions introduced by Washington last week against Russian companies, including arms exporter Rosoboronexport, “mirrors the policy of complicating operations of the Russian military-industrial complex and all of the mechanism of government.”

Sanctions come in handy as a “true instrument of aggressive foreign policy” aimed at Russia, the diplomat said.

Sergei Ryabkov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. © Mikhail Voskresenskiy

“Russia’s independent and self-sufficient foreign policy, its decisiveness to protect its sovereignty, and the consolidation of the people with the country’s leadership serve as a thorn in the side of our opponents,” Ryabkov said.

“We presume that the sanctions are there for the long haul,” Ryabkov said. “There are no reasons or illusions that sanctions are going to be lifted in the short term, at least not in the Foreign Ministry.”

READ MORE: New sanctions: US targets scores of Russian, Chinese, Syrian firms over Iran

“When it comes to international financial services, our colleagues from the US and the EU are set to expand their effort to seal off all capabilities. We understand that and we have to learn how to operate in the given situation,” Ryabkov said, insisting that sanctions will fail to gain the desired effect.

“We’re sorry the US has not learned that truth so far.”

Russian Economic Development Minister Aleksey Ulyukaev said Moscow is going to seek a “symmetrical answer” to American sanctions imposed on September 2.

Washington imposed sanctions on a number of Russian, Chinese, Syrian, Turkish, Sudanese and Iranian companies, believed to be involved in activities which, according to Washington, go against its Nonproliferation Act in regard to Iran and Syria.

“These are not sectoral sanctions, they are personalized, therefore we would consider some kind of a symmetrical answer,” Ulyukaev said.

In March 2014, the EU, the US and some other countries imposed individual sanctions against 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials, subjecting them to asset freezes and travel bans. Within a year, the list was extended to 150 people, including Russian Deputy Prime Ministers Dmitry Kozak and Dmitry Rogozin, as well as presidential aide Vladislav Surkov and 37 entities that, according to the EU, are “responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”


The restrictions have been prolonged until January 31, 2016.

To reciprocate, in August 2014 Moscow introduced a ban on importing meat, dairy, fruit, and vegetable products from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict. The countries included EU member states and Norway, US, Canada and Australia.

European Union sanctions against Russia include restrictions on lending to major Russian state-owned banks, as well as defense and oil companies. In addition, Brussels imposed restrictions on the supply of weapons and military equipment to Russia as well as military technology, dual-use technologies, high-tech equipment and technologies for oil production. No sanctions were imposed against Russia’s gas industry.