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Russia condemns 'evil' new US sanctions

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says the new measures will not bring "the country to its knees".

Last updated: 17 Jul 2014 13:23
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Russia is accused of backing pro-Moscow rebels fighting to secede from Ukraine [Reuters]

Russia's prime minister has condemned new Western sanctions over his country's role in the Ukraine crisis, calling the move "evil".

In comments released on Thursday, Dmitry Medvedev said the penalties imposed by the EU and the US could never bring anyone to their knees. Adding Moscow should pay more attention its defence spending.

The new sanctions agreed on Wednesday against Russia target two major energy firms, a pair of powerful financial institutions, eight weapons firms and four individuals.

A statement released by Russian foreign ministry further condemned the measures, saying that the EU had succumbed to US pressure. 

"We are disappointed that the European Union, contradicting its own interests, succumbed to the blackmail of the US administration and followed the path of sanctions," it said.

The increased US economic pressure is designed to end the rebellion in eastern Ukraine that is widely believed to be backed by the Kremlin.

The new measures sent Russian shares and the ruble currency falling, the Reuters news agency reported,

"We consider the new set of American sanctions on Russia as a primitive attempt to avenge the fact that developments in Ukraine are not following Washington's scenario," the foreign ministry statement added.

It said Washington was trying to put the blame on Moscow for the conflict in Ukraine and was encouraging bloodshed by not putting enough pressure on Kiev to stop a military operation intended to end the uprising in the east.

"It is widely known that sanctions are a double-edged sword," the ministry said, adding that it reserved the right to introduce retaliatory measures of its own which would hit US businesses.

The Ukrainian government and its Western backers say Moscow backs pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine looking to breakaway from the Kiev government.

The first set of Western sanctions against Russia were imposed after its annexation of Crimea.

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