GORKI, January 28. /TASS/. Western sanctions against Russia for its position on Ukraine may be extended and expanded, but they are not connected with the actions of the Russian authorities, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Wednesday.
"The sanctions are in no way connected with our actions. They are senseless, harmful to everyone," Dvorkovich said.
"But we have in the recent days heard signals that they may be extended and expanded, but for us the main thing is to focus on our own actions that need to be carried out anyway, whatever oil prices and sanctions are," he said.
"Starting from support of agriculture, timely release of documents, provision of funds to manufacturers and industry: automotive, aviation, shipbuilding, light and food industry, local transport services - all this is in the zone of our primary attention," Dvorkovich said.
He said the Russian authorities are now focusing on their own actions rather than on what is going on outside.
Russian officials and companies came under the first batch of Western sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea in mid-March 2014 after a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
The West announced new sectoral penalties against Russia in late July 2014 over Moscow’s position on Ukrainian events, in particular, what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in mass protests in Ukraine’s war-torn southeast.
In response, Russia imposed on August 6, 2014 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.
New punitive measures against Russia were imposed in September 2014.
A system of import substitution had to be introduced in Russia in connection with imposition of Western sanctions on Russia for developments in Ukraine and Moscow’s countersanctions.
Russia has constantly dismissed accusations of "annexing" Crimea, because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum, as well as allegations that Moscow could in any way be involved in hostilities in the southeast of Ukraine.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said October 30, 2014 that while pursuing a policy of import substitution, Russia should not confine itself to replacement of goods imports but should also focus on substitution of foreign developments.
In his address to the Federal Assembly, Russia's parliament, on December 4, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the import substitution policy is among the country’s long-term priorities.