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22 Dec, 2015 16:48

Moscow to consider countermeasures after US extends anti-Russia sanctions

Moscow to consider countermeasures after US extends anti-Russia sanctions

Moscow says it will consider countermeasures after the US announced an updated sanctions list targeting 34 individuals and entities in order to “pressure Russia” over the Ukraine crisis.

"Today's steps support the US commitment to seek a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine by maintaining our sanctions on Russia," the US Treasury Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Kremlin, in turn, said it will analyze Washington’s decision and may develop countermeasures.

The sanctions imposed on Tuesday are “a continuation of this unfriendly stance towards Russia, a continuation of the stance which has a devastating impact on bilateral relations,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

"Certainly, based on the reciprocity principle, the Russian side will initially review these decisions taken [by the US] and then pool proposals on possible countermeasures," Peskov said.

He expressed regret that “despite common sense” and the “need to develop cooperation,” Washington is following a policy “contrary to [current] demands.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Washington’s attempts to manipulate Russia via sanctions are ineffective.

This is like shooting yourself in the foot in terms of currents state of Russian-American relations, which were stalled by Washington,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said.

"Being aware that all their attempts to influence us through sanctions are doomed to failure, colleagues from Washington nevertheless stick to their delusions,” he said. Moscow will respond with appropriate measures, he added.

The sanctions list includes 14 individuals and entities linked to those that have engaged in “evasion of existing US sanctions or are 50 percent or more owned by a designated entity,” the US Treasury said.

The list also includes six “separatists designated for threatening the security or stability of Ukraine” and two former Ukrainian government officials “for being complicit in the misappropriation of public assets and/or threatening the security or stability of Ukraine.”

The sanctions were also imposed on 12 entities for operating in Crimea, according to the statement.

The Treasury added that the sanctions will not be rolled back until “the return to Ukraine of control of its side of the international border with Russia,” demonstrating Washington’s refusal to recognize Crimea’s reunification with Russia in March 2014.

The sanctions target individuals and entities linked to Russian businessmen Gennady Timchenko and Arkady and Boris Rotenberg. The restrictions also target such heavyweights as the Kalashnikov Concern and the Izhevsky Mekhanichesky Zavod JSC (known as Baikal).

The Treasury sanctions also identified a number of subsidiaries that are 50 percent or more owned by the previously-designated VTB Bank, Sberbank and Rostec.

On Monday the EU announced it is prolonging its economic sanctions against Russia for another six months over the crisis in Ukraine and the reunification of Crimea. The sanctions include restrictions on lending to major Russian state-owned banks, as well as defense and oil companies.

The sanctions were slammed by Moscow as “illogical” and "ineffective.” The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that instead of imposing restrictive measures, the EU should join Russia in its battle against international terrorism.