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WASHINGTON, April 27. /ITAR-TASS/. U.S. is about to introduce new sanctions “to punish Russia” and in particular to target a range of individuals and corporations, as well as the Russian defense industry, U.S. deputy national security advisor Tony Blinken said Sunday on a CBS program.
Russia’s punishment is pursuant to its alleged failure to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine’s breadwinning eastern regions where the protesters from among the mostly Russian-speaking population, whom Washington invariably labels as “pro-Russian separatists”, are demanding a referendum on the future status of the area and the transformation of the country into a federation.
"We're going to save a little news for Monday but what I can tell you is this," Blinken said.
"We will be looking to designate people who are in his (Russian President Vladimir Putin’s - Itar-Tass) inner circle, who have a significant impact on the Russian economy,” he said. We'll be looking to designate companies that they and other inner circle people control.”
“We'll be looking at taking steps, as well, with regard to high-technology exports to their (Russian) defense industry,” Blinken indicated. “All of this together is going to have an impact.”
Blinken claimed that the sanction introduced by Washington and Brussels after the mid-March referendum in Crimea on reunification with Russia had had a tarnishing effect on the Russian economy.
"We've already seen a significant impact of the pressure we've exerted on Russia over the last several weeks,” he said adding specifically that the Russian financial markets were down 22% since the beginning of the year and “the ruble is at the lowest level ever".
Vladimir Putin said during a major annual question-time televised show April 17 that the West might be seeking to turn him into a major object of sanctions. “Quite possibly, they’re making an attempt of this kind.
When he was asked about Western sanctions against businessmen Gennady Timchenko, Arkady Rotenberg and Boris Rotenberg, he said: “They are good acquaintances of mine, actually friends, and they earned their capitals before we got to know each other.”
“For instance, Mr. Timchenko has been engaged in business since the beginning of the 1990’s,” Putin said. “Speaking seriously, they just don’t have anything to do with the events in Crimea”.
He said they had learned about the Crimean events from TV reports, like most people in Russia. “But they listened to the reports from there literally with tears welling in their eyes and if that’s the reason for punishing them, then they really have something to be punished for.”
Putin added in this connection that he had no shame for his friends’ conduct.