BELGRADE, August 12./TASS/.The situation around Crimea was not the reason of but an excuse for anti-Russian sanctions, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters in Belgrade on Sunday.
"As for a new spiral of anti-Russian sanctions, we have already stated that tit-for-tat sanctions will be considered. This is not our choice, we were not the ones to unleash sanction wars, we have always assumed that unilateral sanctions are unlawful, but retaliatory measures will be worked out. The thesis that many in the West have been voicing, that the sanctions are imposed over Crimea - we see that this is totally untrue. Take a look at what aggressive policy, including with elements of sanction pressure, the US are pursuing against Turkey, China, Iran, and even against the European Union, real trade wars. That is why all tales that it all started because of Crimea are a lie. An excuse was needed, and an excuse was found," the Russian diplomat said.
The Washington administration earlier said it was imposing sanctions on Russia as of August 22 over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in British Salisbury, on March 4. According to the US Department of State, the US authorities are going to decide on unveiling the second package of sanctions against Moscow in 90 days’ time depending on whether it fulfills a number of conditions. Russia has repeatedly refuted allegations concerning its involvement in the case.
The new package will completely ban exports of goods related to national security, such as electronic devices and dual-purpose components to Russia. Moreover, a stipulated ultimatum suggests should Russia fail to present evidence of not possessing chemical and biological weapons, it would further deteriorate diplomacy, put a tighter grip on exports and imports (excluding food) and potentially restrict flights of Russia’s top carrier Aeroflot to the United States. The first round of sanctions is expected to take effect on August 22, while the second round may be introduced in 90 days if Russia fails to meet the announced requirements, according to the State Department.