Russia claims Washington 'blackmailed' EU into new Ukraine sanctions
RUSSIA condemned new U.S. sanctions on as a primitive attempt to take revenge on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis and accused Washington of blackmailing the European Union into agreeing more sanctions.
Washington and Brussels say Moscow has been fanning separatist violence in eastern Ukraine and broadened their sanctions on Wednesday, sending Russian shares and the rouble currency down.
"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 Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
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 could mean the U.S. business community also lost out.
A separate ministry statement on the new EU sanctions - not as far-reaching as the U.S. measures - criticised the 28-nation bloc but used less tough language.
"We are disappointed that the European Union, contradicting its own interests, succumbed to the blackmail of the U.S. administration and followed the path of sanctions," it said.