MOSCOW, March 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia will give a tough response to the expansion of US sanctions over Moscow’s position on the Ukrainian crisis and Crimea’s accession to Russia, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Friday.
“The decision of the US administration announced March 20 to expand the sanction list of Russian officials, deputies and business representatives as ‘punishment’ for reunification of Crimea with Russia causes disappointment and regret,” the diplomat said.
“We will respond in kind, toughly, as it has happened more than once in connection with earlier imposed sanctions,” Lukashevich said.
“Washington should have no illusions: the sanctions’ effectiveness from the viewpoint of American interests is equal to zero. But the irresponsible actions will inevitably harm Russian-American relations,” he said.
The Republic of Crimea, where most residents are Russians, held a referendum on March 16, in which it decided to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Crimea and Moscow signed the agreement on Crimea’s accession to Russia on March 18.
Crimea opted for joining Russia after anti-government riots in Ukraine’s capital Kiev and other cities resulted in a coup in February. Crimea refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities who took power after President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave Ukraine last month citing security concerns.
Russia believes Yanukovich is Ukraine’s legitimate leader.