'Unhinged Russophobia': Moscow slams new barrage of US & Canada sanctions over Kerch standoff

'Unhinged Russophobia': Moscow slams new barrage of US & Canada sanctions over Kerch standoff
The Russian Foreign Ministry has vowed to retaliate to the new economic sanctions rolled out by Washington and Ottawa over the November showdown near the shores of Crimea.

The Foreign Ministry has called "groundless" the allegations by the US and Canadian governments that Russia was the aggressor in the November 25 incident in the Black Sea, when three Ukrainian warships sailed into Russian territorial waters.

Also on rt.com US imposes fresh sanctions on Russia over Kerch Strait standoff

Moscow said that the Ukrainian vessels had not obtained proper permits to cross the strait and ignored repeated warnings by the Russian coast guard to stop when they entered Russian waters near Crimea. Three Ukrainian sailors were injured in the standoff, and a total of 24 Ukrainian personnel were detained and put on trial for violating Russian borders.

The ships were later found to be armed and reportedly intended to cross the waterway that separates mainland Russia from Crimea in a "stealthy" manner.

READ MORE: Russian businessman Deripaska sues US over ‘devastating power of sanctions

On Friday, Washington imposed sanctions on six businessmen and politicians, and eight enterprises, while Ottawa slapped economic restrictions on 114 individuals and 15 entities. The Foreign Ministry specifically took aim at Canada for racing to keep up with the US' Russia-bashing.

"It seems that from a normal logic standpoint, it would be more important for [Canadian Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau's team to concentrate on resolving rather complex problems at home, than play its 'Russophobia card' in vain."

Both US and Canada continue to follow a "perilous course" aimed at a "total destruction" of relations with Russia, already at rock bottom due to the "unhinged Russophobia that has engulfed Washington and Ottawa," the ministry said.

Moscow has vowed to mount a "practical response" to the new sanctions.

Shipyards based in St. Petersburg and Crimea, and Russian officials that responded to the incident in the Kerch Strait are among those included in Washington's black list. Canada also targeted prominent Russian politicians and business executives, such as the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft, Igor Sechin, and the head of the National Guard, Victor Zolotov.

Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska, who was sanctioned by the US last year, is meanwhile taking the US government to court, arguing that the restrictions are based "on false rumor and innuendo" and violate the US Constitution.

Deripaska was forced to lower his stake in aluminum giant Rusal to spare it from sanctions, but sanctions targeting him personally remain in place.

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