MOSCOW: Russia reacted angrily yesterday to additional sanctions imposed by the European Union over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis, saying they would hamper cooperation on security issues and undermine the fight against terrorism and organised crime.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry also accused the United States, which has already imposed its own sanctions against Moscow, of contributing to the conflict in Ukraine through its support for the pro-Western government in Kiev.
The 28-nation EU reached an outline agreement on Friday to impose the first economic sanctions on Russia over its behaviour in Ukraine but scaled back their scope to exclude technology for the crucial gas sector.
The EU also imposed travel bans and asset freezes on the chiefs of Russia’s FSB security service and foreign intelligence service and a number of other top Russian officials, saying they had helped shape Russian government policy that threatened Ukraine’s sovereignty and national integrity.
“The additional sanction list is direct evidence that the EU countries have set a course for fully scaling down cooperation with Russia over the issues of international and regional security,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“(This) includes the fight against the proliferation of weapon of mass destruction, terrorism, organised crime and other new challenges and dangers.”
The EU had already imposed asset freezes and travel bans on dozens of senior Russian officials over Russia’s annexation in
March of Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and its support for separatists battling Kiev’s forces in eastern Ukraine.
The decision to move towards targeting sectors of Russia’s economy came after last week’s downing of a Malaysian MH17 airliner, killing 298 people, in an area of eastern Ukraine held by the Russian-backed separatists.
The United States and other Western countries accuse the separatists of downing the plane with a surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia. The separatists deny shooting down the plane and Russia says it has provided no such weapons. Moscow has suggested Kiev’s forces are to blame for the crash.