Russia mulls new retaliatory measures against West

Moscow might retaliate against some specific Western countries through new measures following EU’s decision to extend sanctions until new year

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Russian Federation will take preemptive measures against some Western nations in retaliation to the European Union’s decision to prolong financial-economic sanctions last month.

Russia's Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin on Friday signaled new retaliatory sanctions against some selected Western nations, most notably Finland at the top of the list, the council's secretary Nikolai Patrushev told reporters after the meeting.

During the Friday’s session, Putin was said to have ordered to resist Western pressure and draft a new retaliatory response to the sanctions which were extended by the EU parliament upon Russia’s alleged role in the ongoing eastern Ukraine separatist cause.

Patrushev indicated that the Kremlin might specifically revise favourable trade conditions provided for Finland after Helsinki's refusal to issue a visa to the Russian lower house speaker, adding that Moscow would retaliate with the same measures against other Western countries.

Since his name was in the EU’s proposed sanctions list for some Russian top officials, Finland had denied a visa for the State Duma speaker, Sergei Naryshkin who was planning to attend to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) next week in Helsinki.

Following the Finnish move, Russia had taken the decision to boycott the scheduled meeting of OSCE.

Moscow’s relations with OSCE were already at odds since the European monitoring group have been reporting some Russian military presence and political incursions towards eastern Ukraine.

The EU parliament passed a resolution bill in June which suggested the member states to maintain financial-economic sanctions, imposed upon Russia due to the annexation of Crimea and east Ukraine crisis, until January 2016.

The EU’s move came just after the Ukrainian ambassador to Brussels Kostiantyn Yelisieiev urged the 28-nation bloc to take immediate steps to ramp up sanctions on Moscow over the renewed fierce fightings last month.

The sanctions consisted of travel bans for some selected Russian top officials and businessmen have also limited Russia’s transactions with the Western capital markets and banned exchanges of military and energy technologies.

In retaliation to the EU and US orchestrated sanctions, Russia had also limited the import of most of food products from the EU countries together with the US.

But, Moscow’s move has also hit back food prices in the country since then as its national currency ruble significantly devalued against Western currencies at the end of the last year.

Putin said during the security council meeting that the West had failed to reach its targets through the sanctions and accused Europeans of being responsible for what was happening in eastern Ukraine since the last year.

"No one even tries to analyze the causes of what is happening, say, in southeastern Ukraine, over which all the fuss started. I mean that those who impose these restrictive measures against Russia, the so-called sanctions, they are, in fact, the culprits of all the events which we now see happening in Ukraine's southeast." Putin said according to Russia’s Sputnik news agency.

Putin did not mention any specific country in the West when he said Russia should respond with "additional systemic measures in all key areas", adding that "we shouldn't expect some of our geo-political opponents to revise their unfriendly course in the foreseeable future."

However, Patrushev openly blamed the US for the events that led to ousting of the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in February last year and urged Washington to show efforts for a conflict resolution together with Moscow.

"The United States has initiated all those events in Ukraine. It has initiated a coup and put the current Ukrainian leadership in power," Petrushev said.

"If the US takes steps to normalize the situation, it will be normalized. If it doesn't want to do so, the situation will drag on for a long time," he added.

Russia insists that the Western sanctions must be lifted since it convinced the separatists in eastern Ukraine to abide by the Mink Peace Protocol agreed in the middle of February.

However the EU countries want Moscow to fulfill all requirements with regard to the Minsk Agreement which also calls Russia to show respect to Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
The UN Human Rights Office reported in June that there were some growing signs of evidence of Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine where the separatist war caused to death of nearly 6,450 people since last year’s spring.

TRTWorld and agencies