TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -By slapping Russia with new sanctions and restrictions, Washington only punishes US companies, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said. Any attempt to browbeat Moscow into a policy change will be in vain, it stressed.
Twenty-one individuals, all of them Russian or Ukrainian nationals, and nine companies were added to the ever-expanding blacklist of sanctioned persons by the US Treasury Department on Friday. Most of the companies operate in the power and energy sector, such as Gaz-Alyans and Kaliningradnefteproduct. Commenting on the new batch of restrictive measures, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Russia will not cave into pressure and reserves the right to retaliate.
"Washington still cannot get rid of an illusion that we can be intimidated by US visa denials or trade restrictions, that we can be coerced into abandoning an independent stance on the international arena, defending our national interests,” the ministry said in a statement on Friday.
The ministry argued that while the “senseless sanctions campaign”waged by Washington under a “far-fetched pretext” has so far borne no fruit in terms of influencing Moscow’s foreign policy. Its only viable outcome will be financial losses inflicted on American business.
“Washington strategists ... only demonstrate their own impotence for all the world to see,” it said, adding that the sanctions are a telltale sign of US complicity in the 2014 Kiev coup and vested interests in fomenting the civil war in Ukraine.
The latest hostile move from Washington came just hours after an article by US ambassador to Moscow Jon Huntsman was published in which he argued the US “can and must improve ties with Russia.”
“It’s no secret that our relationship is at the lowest point in years. People in the United States have made it clear that they expect and demand an improvement in the US-Russia relationship,” he wrote in the op-ed for Moscow Times.
Exposing the apparent contradiction between Huntsman’s words and US deeds, the ministry lamented that “Washington apparently has not supported its ambassador in this desire.”
US-Russia relations have deteriorated sharply in the wake of the western-backed coup in Kiev that sparked armed resistance in eastern Ukraine, defiant of the new western-sponsored authorities.
The government in Kiev launched a brutal military crackdown on the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, branding those opposing the central government “terrorists.”
The Ukrainian government accused Moscow of backing the rebels on the ground and giving them weapons, claims firmly denied by Moscow. Further anti-Russia sanctions were spurred by Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014 following a referendum, denounced by the US as an “annexation.”
In addition to Russia’s “aggression” in Ukraine, Washington also accuses Moscow of “meddling” in the 2016 US presidential elections. The allegations of interference, mostly backed by speculation, biased commentaries and anonymous leaks, have repeatedly been dismissed as baseless and absurd by Moscow.