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Russia condemns “primitive” US sanctions over Ukraine

People pass by a banner reading 'Stop fascism in Russia', at the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, 17 July 2014. The United States and Europe expanded new sanctions against Russia on 16 July

By Gabriela Baczynska

Russia condemned new U.S. sanctions on Thursday as a primitive attempt to take revenge on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis and accused Washington of blackmailing the European Union into agreeing more sanctions. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday new Western sanctions on Moscow over its role in the Ukraine crisis were “evil” and that such measures could never bring anyone to their knees.

Washington and Brussels say Moscow has been fanning separatist violence in eastern Ukraine and broadened their sanctions on Wednesday, sending Russian shares and the rouble currency down.

“We consider the new set of American sanctions on Russia as a primitive attempt to avenge the fact that developments in Ukraine are not following Washington’s scenario,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It said Washington was trying to put the blame on Moscow for the conflict in Ukraine and was encouraging bloodshed by not putting enough pressure on Kiev to stop a military operation intended to end the uprising in the east.

“It is widely known that sanctions are a double-edged sword,” the ministry said, adding that it reserved the right to introduce retaliatory measures of its own which could mean the U.S. business community also lost out.

A separate ministry statement on the new EU sanctions – not as far-reaching as the U.S. measures – criticised the 28-nation bloc but used less tough language.

“We are disappointed that the European Union, contradicting its own interests, succumbed to the blackmail of the U.S. administration and followed the path of sanctions,” it said.

The sanctions, which in effect close medium and long-term dollar funding, were put on Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft, its No.2 gas producer Novatek, its third largest bank, Gazprombank, and state Vnesheconombank.

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