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Russia pledges response to new US sanctions but says door for dialogue open

“We consider the imposition by Washington of new anti-Russian sanctions as a regular hostile act in the framework of the American administration-pursued confrontational course,” the ministry said

MOSCOW, September 12. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia considers new US sanctions against Moscow over the situation in Ukraine a hostile act and will impose countersanctions in response soon but leaves the door for dialogue open for the United States, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday.

“We consider the imposition by Washington of new anti-Russian sanctions as a regular hostile act in the framework of the American administration-pursued confrontational course,” the ministry said in a statement.

“In conditions of a truce reached in Ukraine’s southeast with much effort and dialogue taking shape between the authorities in Kiev and the leadership of Novorossiya [Donetsk and Lugansk regions] on the basis of peace initiatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin, it is the US that stakes on escalation of the intra-Ukrainian conflict and increase of sanctions pressure on the Russian Federation,” it said.

“It seems the White House should have long understood that juggling with sanctions will not make us change our principled position,” the ministry said. “We will not act in order to please the US geopolitical ambitions and calculations of those overseas politicians who want to use a ‘controllable Ukraine’ to contain Russia.”

“Those in Washington who keep short-sightedly unwinding the spiral of sanctions while ignoring not only the interests of American business but also the interests of their own national security dictating the necessity to strengthen interaction with Russia in supporting global stability, as well as in the fight against such contemporary challenges as international terrorism and drug trafficking, act to the detriment of US interests,” it said.

“Our countersanctions will certainly not take long, although they, as we have repeatedly said, are a forced measure,” the statement said.

“We are leaving the door open for constructive and honest bilateral cooperation, including contribution to settlement of the Ukrainian crisis if the US administration is ready for that,” the statement said.

“Washington should admit: only respect for each other’s interests may help find a solution to the intra-Ukrainian conflict that suits everyone,” it said.

The US Department of the Treasury said Friday the US government has imposed new sanctions on Russia. The new sanctions list includes Sberbank, Bank of Moscow, Gazprombank, Rosselkhozbank, Vnesheconombank, and VTB. They can no longer borrow for a period of more than 30 days.

The Treasury has also blocked the assets of five defense enterprises and banned the export of goods, services and technologies for deepwater, Arctic and shale oil production projects carried out by Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, Surgutneftegaz, and Rosneft. The Rostec corporation has also been affected and can now borrow for no longer than 30 days.

Earlier Friday, the European Union published in its Official Journal the details of new sanctions against Moscow taking effect the same day. The new punitive measures envision a ban for Russia’s largest state banks - Sberbank, VTB, VEB, Gazprombank and Rosselkhozbank to place bonds with maturity terms of over 30 days.

The penalties also stipulate a ban on debt financing for energy companies Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom Neft and defense enterprises Uralvagonzavod, Oboronprom and the United Aircraft Corporation.

Russian officials and companies came under Western sanctions, including visa bans, asset freezes, and sectoral restrictions for Russia's incorporation of Crimea after a coup in Ukraine in February and for what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in mass protests and hostilities in Ukraine’s embattled southeast, which Russia has repeatedly denied.

In response, Moscow imposed on August 6 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway.

The latest batch of the EU and US sanctions on Russia came despite the fact that the parties to the intra-Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire during OSCE-mediated talks on September 5, and that the truce took effect the same day.

The September 5 talks took place two days after Putin suggested his seven-item plan to settle the crisis in Ukraine after a phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Pyotr Poroshenko.