Moscow rubbishes chances of US sanctions succeeding
Washington’s contemplation of harsh new measures that could limit Russia’s ability to convert its own currency are something conjured up out of fiction and unlikely to happen, Moscow has warned amid strained relations with the US.
Speaking to RIA Novosti on Tuesday, Dmitry Birichevsky, the director of the economic co-operation department in Russia’s Foreign Ministry, said that officials often note the “unpredictable behavior of the US and its allies.”
“As a result, we must always be prepared for any outbursts of ‘inadequacy’ and rely mainly on our own strength and capabilities,” he said.
Responding to a question about possible sanctions restricting Russia’s ability to purchase foreign currency using its own denomination and fears that the ruble could lose its value, the official remarked that “these are some extremely exotic measures.”
While Birichevsky acknowledged that it is possible to try to ban financial market participants from certain operations in American jurisdiction or with American companies, this specific form of sanctions would be hard to enforce.
“But limiting the convertibility of the ruble in any way as the Russian national currency is something out of the realm of fantasy,” he insisted. “It is unlikely that something like this has ever happened in history, and it is difficult to imagine how it could be implemented.”
Birichevsky’s remarks come after Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said earlier this month that Washington, along with America’s partners in Europe, is considering isolating Moscow from the global financial system should Russian troops invade Ukraine.
“What we are talking about would amount to essentially isolating Russia completely from the global financial system, with all the fallout that would entail for Russian businesses, for the Russian people, for their ability to work and travel and trade,” she said.
Nuland’s threat came just one day after a report was published by US news agency Bloomberg, which suggested that Washington could target major Russian banks and even cut Moscow off from the Belgium-based SWIFT payment network.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied accusations that it is planning an incursion against its neighbor, insisting that the movement of troops on Russia’s territory is an internal matter and of no concern to any other nation.