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Sanctions tit-for-tat: Moscow strikes back against US officials

Published time: March 20, 2014 15:37
Edited time: March 22, 2014 16:05
RIA Novosti / Alexander Vilf

RIA Novosti / Alexander Vilf

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has published a reciprocal sanctions list of US citizens, consisting of 10 names, including: House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, Senator J. McCain; and advisers to President Obama D. Pfeiffer and C. Atkinson.

THE LIST OF OFFICIALS AND LAWMAKERS

These officials, along with another five named by the Foreign Ministry, are banned from entering the country.

The move comes in response to US sanctions imposed against Russian officials after the March-16 referendum in Crimea, which Washington considered “illegitimate.”

“In response to sanctions imposed by the US Administration on 17 March against a number of Russian officials and deputies of the Federal Assembly as a “punishment” for support of the referendum in Crimea, the Russian foreign Ministry announces the introduction of reciprocal sanctions against a similar number of US officials and lawmakers,” reads the statement published on the Foreign Ministry’s website.

The Ministry reiterates that Russia has “repeatedly” stressed using sanctions is a “double-edged thing” and it will have a “boomerang” effect against the US itself.

“Treating our country in such way, as Washington could have already ascertained, is inappropriate and counterproductive,” the statement said.

The statement continued: “Nevertheless, it looks like the American side continues to blindly believe in the effectiveness of such methods, taken from the arsenal of the past, and does not want to face the obvious: the people of Crimea, in a democratic way in full accordance with international law and UN regulations, voted to join Russia, which respects and accepts this choice. You may like this decision or not, but we are talking about a reality, which needs to be taken into consideration.”

On Thursday US President Barack Obama announced a new executive order imposing further on key sectors of the Russian economy and top Russian officials and businessmen. The measures will impact Russian energy, mining, defense and engineering sectors.

The Russian presidential administration has focused on analyzing new sanctions the US imposed against top officials, according to presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.

He said that seeing certain names on the US sanction list “is puzzling.”

“But whatever the names are, the presence of any of the lists is unacceptable for us,” Peskov continued.

“In any case, it will not take long for Russia to react,” he added.

Earlier on Thursday, 443 of 446 Russian lower house MPs voted to ratify the acceptance of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as new parts of the Russian Federation.

However, just like the US, the EU does not recognize the results of the referendum, in which over 96 percent of citizens voted to join Russia.

The referendum was followed by EU sanctions against 21 Russian and Crimean officials. The sanctions are due to be expanded when EU leaders meet for a two-day summit in Brussels on Thursday.

Also on Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the EU will impose more sanctions on Russia and will suspend all G8 meetings until the political situation changes.