UPDATE3: Foreign Ministry: Russia to design measures against new sanctions
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MOSCOW/SABETTA, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region, Aug 9 (PRIME) -- Russia will develop new measures to retaliate against new U.S. sanctions, but making the Russian–U.S. relations tougher is not the goal, spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
“It is not about the Russian side’s fantasies or willingness to escalate the Russian–U.S. relations or make them more complicated, nothing of the kind. We are speaking about retaliatory measures exclusively… which will be designed depending on the U.S. side’s steps,” she said and added that any counter steps are “absolutely not our choice.”
On Wednesday, the U.S. imposed new sanctions on Russia for its alleged involvement in the Skripal poisoning case. Sources told NBC television channel that the first package of restrictions includes a full ban on imports of dual-use devices and component parts to Russia, while the second tranche may include a ban on flights of Russian national flagship carrier Aeroflot.
The president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that discussions about Moscow’s possible retaliatory measures to the new U.S. sanctions over the Salisbury incident is premature.
“First of all, we’ve heard official statements about new so-called sanctions, we heard a high-ranking source, who was talking about the possibility of some restrictions against Russia. That’s why it would not be right to speak about any counter-measures until we understand specifically and officially what it involves,” he said.
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters that the current market volatility is linked to both the news about the possibility of additional U.S. sanctions and the negative global environment on emerging markets.
He added that Russia’s economy has become more resistant to external shocks over the past few years and that the country’s financial authorities have all necessary tools to ensure the financial stability and are ready to use them.
“The government and the central bank are monitoring the situation and have all necessary instruments to ensure the financial stability, and they will use them when necessary as envisaged by the existing legislation,” he said.
First Deputy Energy Minister Alexei Teksler told reporters that although there is only a bill on new U.S. sanctions, his ministry is analyzing it and its possible consequences as it does usually.
“This is not the first draft law (on U.S. sanctions), there are a number of drafts. (The Energy Ministry) is of course analyzing each of the initiatives. But I would like to underline that this is not introduction of the sanctions yet,” he said.
CEO and core owner of independent gas producer Novatek Leonid Mikhelson said that if the U.S. makes settlements in the U.S. dollars difficult, Russia may start settlements with its partners in their national currencies quicker.
“(Settlements in national currencies) have long been discussed by Russia’s largest and stable partners, including China and India. The Arabian states also begin thinking and talking about it… If they make such difficulties for our major banks, the process may speed up,” he said.
Mikhelson added that the more sanctions are slapped by the U.S. the stronger relations between Russia and China, India and the Arabian states are. The trade war between China and the U.S. will also make Russia and China “love each other even harder,” he added.
The ruble fell to 66.17 per U.S. dollar and to 76.67 per euro as of 4:20 p.m. Moscow time hitting a two-year lowest.
Peskov also said that the U.S. linking its new sanctions to the Salisbury poisoning is unacceptable and illegal.
“Linking with these events is unacceptable for us. And such restrictions, like those adopted by the U.S. in advance, in our understanding and in our conviction are absolutely illegal and not in accordance with international law,” he said.