Russia threatens it will fight back with sanctions against US and EU if the West imposes sanctions

Posted on 3/13/2014 12:07 PM in World

Russia is saying that it will fight back with sanctions of its own if the US and the EU impose sanctions, a senior Russian economic official said Thursday.

“We hope that there will only be targeted political sanctions, and not a broad package affecting economic trade,” Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexei Likhachev said.

“Our sanctions will be, of course, symmetrical,” he added.

The threat of economic sanctions has sent Russian markets and the ruble plummeting in recent weeks following the seizure of Crimea by Russian forces.

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied the troops are Russian, calling them local militia. A referendum on secession and annexation by Russia is scheduled for Sunday in the majority Russian ethnic region.

The White House announced visa bans on unnamed officials last week and said that targeted economic sanctions have been authorized against individuals responsible for violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

A US bill expected to introduce broader and tougher sanctions against Russian officials passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday and will now advance to a full vote in Congress.

Russia has in the past responded to such targeted sanctions in a proportional manner. A 2012 US blacklist of Russian officials blamed for the death of whistleblowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009 spurred the country last year to retaliate with a similar list of US officials banned from entering the country.

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