The new round of American economic sanctions imposed against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis will only further worsen relations between Washington and Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“Washington will gain nothing from such decisions except for further complication of Russian-American relations and the creation of an unfavorable atmosphere in international affairs, where the cooperation between our countries often plays a key role,” the statement by the ministry reads.
“We have repeatedly spoken about the illegitimacy and groundlessness of the US sanctions against Russia,”it said, commenting on a new package of sanctions announced by Washington on Tuesday.
In addition to steps taken earlier, the US has now added four new names to the list of Russia-affiliated entities sanctioned by Washington, including the Bank of Moscow, the Russian Agricultural Bank and VTB Bank OAO, as well as the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation.
Also, the US will be “blocking the exports of specific goods and technologies to the Russian energy sector”,“expanding sanctions to more banks” and “suspending credit that encourages exports to Russia,” President Barack Obama said on Tuesday.
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The move came just hours after the EU announced its own economic measures targeting the Russian economy. Both the US and the EU accuse Moscow of supporting anti-Kiev militias in eastern Ukraine.
Moscow, in response, said that the US is only pretending to be consistent in its current behavior. In fact,“it is only trying to escape responsibility for the tragic development of the events in Ukraine,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
“It is not Russia but the Kiev regime and its foreign patrons that can be blamed for the increasing number of casualties among civilians in eastern [Ukrainian] regions,” the ministry said in a statement.
The White House – in its “pretentious, prosecutor-like manner” – continues to put forward groundless charges against Russia, the ministry said. At the same time, the US is covering up “the bloody operation by the Kiev military who, in violation of international laws, have launched missile strikes against peaceful cities.”
In Moscow’s view, “the only goal” that the US is pursuing by imposing sanctions is to “settle accounts”with Russia for its policies that are “independent and unfavorable for Washington.”
“The losses that Washington will sustain from such a destructive and myopic policy will be very tangible,”the Foreign Ministry added.
VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank and one of the institutions targeted by US sanctions, has called them “politically motivated, unfair, legally dubious and economic damaging for all parties.”
The bank said in a statement that the “move appears particularly misguided, given that VTB strictly adheres to all applicable international laws and regulations, including those set out by the US authorities, which they are well aware of.”
It assured the clients that despite the US’s “discriminatory decision” it will continue to meet all of its obligations, adding that the move will not affect the bank’s “operational performance and creditworthiness.”
Another leading Russian bank targeted in the sanctions, Bank of Moscow, also said that its customers would not be harmed by them as the bank is focused on the internal Russian market.
The United Shipbuilding Corporation, in response to the sanctions, said it is considering switching from US dollars to other currencies in its payments with foreign customers, the corporation’s head Aleksey Rakhmanov told Kommersant FM radio station. He added that the sanctions may cause more harm to the company’s civilian customers rather than the military sector.