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Russia may respond tit-for-tat to Western sanctions - upper house speaker

April 29, 2014, 20:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Sanctions against Russia “will not have any serious influence on our economy,” the speaker of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament says

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© ITAR-TASS/Anton Novoderezhkin

MOSCOW, April 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, does not rule out that Russia may draft tit-for-tat measures in response to Western sanctions.

“This is the case when we should respond tit-for-tat, draft response measures so that no one can talk to Russia in this language,” Matviyenko told journalists while commenting on expansion of Western sanctions against Russia. She said that such measures should be worked out, the Federation Council would support them.

According to Matviyenko, sanctions against Russia “will not have any serious influence on our economy.”

“What the West can be thanked for is that they consolidate Russian society more and more by such actions. Russia has a great margin of safety to react to possible losses from such sanctions,” the speaker said, adding that it will make it possible to diversify Russia’s economy, including through increasing the output of high-tech products.

“As regards sanctions as pressure upon Russia designed to make it change its foreign policy, this is totally unacceptable with any sovereign state in the world, especially with such a powerful and influential state as Russia that plays a huge role in the global politics and economy,” she stressed.


Who is in the blacklist?

The Official Journal of the European Union on Tuesday made public the names of another 15 people subject to EU sanctions in the form of entry bans and asset freezes until the end of November.

The list contains 15 names of Russian officials and Ukrainian southeastern resistance members, namely: Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, presidential plenipotentiary in the Crimean Federal District Oleg Belaventsev, Crimean Affairs Minister Oleg Savelyev, Sevastopol federal city governor Sergey Menyailo, senator from Crimea Olga Kovitidi, deputy speakers of Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, Lyudmila Shvetsova and Sergey Neverov.

The list also includes the names of Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Director Igor Sergun, Russian Armed Forces General Staff Chief Valery Gerasimov, GRU officer Igor Strelkov, militia leaders in Ukraine’s southeast German Prokopyev and Valery Bolotov, head of the proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Andrey Purgin, DNR leaders Denis Pushilin and Sergey Tsyplakov.

Western countries have imposed targeted sanctions on some Russian and Crimean officials following Crimea’s reunification with Russia in March, but Moscow has responded tit-for-tat.


Crimea reunification with Russia

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, signed reunification deals with Russia on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

The developments came after a coup in Ukraine in February, when new people were brought to power in Ukraine amid deadly riots triggered by President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to suspend the signing of an association agreement with the EU in November 2013 in order to study the deal more thoroughly.

Yanukovych had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns the same month. Crimea refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities.

Russia does not recognize the new Ukrainian leaders, who appear unable to restrain radicals and ultranationalists, either.

Despite Russia’s repeated statements that the Crimean plebiscite was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, Kiev and Western countries do not recognize Crimea’s accession to Russia.

After Crimea's incorporation by Russia, protests against the new Kiev leaders erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern regions. Demonstrators, who are demanding referendums on the country’s federalization, seized some government buildings.

The West has already expanded its sanctions against Russia since they were first imposed and has threatened Russia with new economic sanctions unless Moscow changes its foreign policy. Moscow has said the imposition of sanctions against it is counterproductive and will have a boomerang effect on Western nations.

In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.

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