Russia says won`t tolerate US `blackmail`, sanctions will take ties to `dead-end`

Miffed with the harsher US sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine, leader Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned that the measures would lead Washington-Moscow ties to a dead-end.

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Moscow: Miffed with the harsher US sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine, leader Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned that the measures would lead Washington-Moscow ties to a dead-end.

Meanwhile, a statement by Russian Foreign Ministry termed the sanctions imposed by the US as "blackmail" and threatened to retaliate.

"We do not intend to tolerate blackmail and reserve the right to take retaliatory measures," the Russian foreign ministry said.

Speaking to reporters in Brasilia, where Putin was for the BRICS Summit, the Russian President said that the US sanctions would have a “boomerang effect” and will hit the US in long term, reported the Itar-Tass news agency.

Putin said he was “convinced that harms the national long-term interests of the American state, the American people.”

“It’s a great pity that our partners are following this path...But our doors are open for negotiating process, for a way out of this situation,” the reports quoted Putin as saying.

Putin`s remarks came after both the US and European Union imposed new economic sanctions on Russia Wednesday, with President Barack Obama declaring that Russian leaders must see that their actions supporting rebels "have consequences."

The penalties announced by the White House were broad in scope, targeting two major Russian energy firms, a pair of powerful financial institutions, eight arms firms and four individuals. Leaders in Europe, which has a far deeper economic relationship with Russia than the US, were more restrained, ordering investment and development banks on the continent to suspend financing agreements with Moscow.

The targets of the US sanctions include two major Russian energy firms: Novatek, the country`s largest independent natural gas producer, and Rosneft, Russia`s largest petroleum company and third largest gas producer. The penalties bar both from getting long-term loans from US Entities.

Also included on sanctions list were four individuals: Putin adviser Igor Shchegolev, Russian State Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei Neverov, Ukrainian separatist leader Aleksandr Borodai and Sergey Beseda, an official with Russia`s Federal Security Service, the intelligence agency that replaced the KGB after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Also targeted were leading Russian financial institutions, the Russian development bank VEB and Gazprombank, banking arm of Russia`s state energy behemoth Gazprom. The sanctions restrict their ability to access US capital markets.

In a decision that could affect Russian oligarchs or members of the Kremlin inner circle, the EU leaders also asked their foreign ministers to consider targeting people or companies involved in the unrest in Ukraine.

Until now, the US and Europe have limited their sanctions on Europe to travel bans and asset freezes aimed at individuals and entities, including some with close ties to Putin.

But those measures have done little to change Putin`s calculus, with the Pentagon announcing Wednesday that Russian troops were again building up along the border with Ukraine. In Ukraine itself, pro-Russian rebels in the east have lost much ground but now seem to be hunkering down for what could be extended urban warfare.

Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of fomenting the insurgency by sending troops and weapons across its border with the former Soviet republic, something Moscow denies. The insurgency was sparked by Russia`s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine earlier this year.

While Obama has put a premium on responding to the provocations in coordination with Europe, the White House has grown increasingly frustrated with the continent`s reluctance to impose sanctions on Russian economic sectors.
EU leaders fear such penalties could have negative impacts on their own economies given their close financial relationships with Russia.
With Agency Inputs

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