Top Russian MP warns West against new sanctions

Alexey Pushkov, Chairman of the State Duma's International Affairs Committee (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)
The head of the State Duma’s foreign relations committee has said new anti-Russian sanctions would only cause further alienation between Russia and the West without giving any help to Ukraine.

If the West imposes new sanctions on Russia it would not help Ukraine, but it would lead to Russia’s distancing from the West in politics and economy,” MP Aleksey Pushkov (United Russia) wrote in his Twitter microblog.

The statement came after CNN reported the United States and the European Union are finalizing preparations for a new package of anti-Russian sanctions. These could be introduced should another escalation of the Ukrainian conflict occur.

Earlier this month, top Russian officials, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the head of the Presidential Administration, Sergey Ivanov, and presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned Russia would prolong its counter-sanctions if Western nations persist in their anti-Russian policies.

Prime Minister Medvedev said in a public statement in April that the sanctions situation demonstrated Russian society and authorities can jointly withstand any political or economic pressure from abroad.

MP Pushkov made a similar statement in mid-May when he addressed the Lower House plenary session: “After the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory [in WWII] it has become evident that the policy of maximum political isolation of Russia is not yielding the expected results,” he said. “If today, after May 9, Obama again claims he has isolated Russia, he will simply be laughed at,” he added.

READ MORE: Medvedev promises symmetrical response if new anti-Russian sanctions are introduced

Russia currently bans the imports of meat, poultry and fish, cheese, milk, fruit and vegetables from the United States, EU countries, Australia, Canada and Norway. The embargo was introduced in August last year for a one-year term, with possible prolongation if the situation doesn’t improve.

Russia has also blacklisted a number of Western officials and politicians known for their persistent anti-Russian stance. The list of people subject to sanctions was sent to the EU on condition of non-disclosure, but was leaked almost immediately to press, which greatly disappointed Russian diplomats.