As relations between the west and Russia hit another new low in the wake of the latest U.S. sanctions slapped on seven Russian oligarchs and their companies, as well as the mysterious poisoning case of a former spy in the U.K., President Vladimir Putin said he hopes " good sense will finally prevail.”
"Indeed, the state of affairs in the world cannot but give rise to concern,” Putin said at a ceremony in the Kremlin, where he received credentials from foreign diplomats, on April 11.
“The situation in the world is becoming more and more chaotic. Nonetheless, we hope all the same that good sense will finally prevail, that international relations will enter a constructive course, and that the whole global system will become more stable and predictable,” Putin said on Wednesday.
“Russia will continue to consistently advocate the strengthening of global and regional security and stability, continue to rigorously comply with its international obligations, build cooperation with partners in a constructive, respectful manner, guided by international legal norms and the UN Charter,” Putin said, according to Interfax news agency.
On April 6, the U.S. imposed sanctions on 38 people and entities, including seven Russian oligarchs, 12 companies that they own, and 17 government officials.
The blacklist came a week after the U.S. and two dozen other countries, including the U.K. and Canada, expelled about 150 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the nerve gas poisoning of a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, southern England, on March 4.
The Kremlin denied all allegations of any wrongdoing in regards to the poisoning case, and on April 6 called sanctions on Russian businessmen and officials "outrageous.”
“It is a new development, of course, and one which is quite outrageous from the point of legitimacy and one which tramples, so to say, on every possible norm," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted saying by RIA Novosti news agency on April 9.
Peskov said the Russian government is "doing everything possible to minimize negative consequences" of the sanctions, and exploring retaliatory measures. Peskov also said the Kremlin was closely following the situation on the stock markets, where shares in several Russian companies affected by the U.S. sanctions plunged on April 9.
State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin urged the Russian government to directly retaliate in mirror-image to the U.S sanctions that impinge on the interests and capabilities of Russian businesses.
“In view of this, dear colleagues and Dmitry Anatolyevich [Medvedev], it would be right to take tit-for-tat measures against U.S. products," Volodin said following the government report to Duma on the work of the cabinet in the past six years.
"One should not mistake decency for weakness. And the U.S. authorities should understand this," Volodin said, saying it was necessary to do exactly what the U.S. does, “against our manufacturers.”
Volodin blamed the U.S. government for repeatedly violating international law and the principles for the development of international trade.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, for his turn, said the new U.S. sanctions represent the U.S.’ "fight for markets,” also promising a "well-calculated" response.
“This is not a fight against a specific representative of big businesses,” he said.
“This is a fight for markets, this is a fight with the biggest suppliers of aluminum, nonferrous metals,” Medvedev added, referring to the sanctioning of Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska and his companies, including the aluminum giant Rusal.
“With the non-stop use of sanctions, which are also aimed at the removal of competitors on foreign markets with such administrative methods, Washington has actually declared itself to be an enemy of market economy and free, fair competition,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Russia’s biggest arms trader Rosoboronexport, Russian Financial Corporation and Rusal aluminum giant are among sanctioned entities. The U.S. also blacklisted Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller, VTB CEO Andrei Kostin, owner of Renova Group Viktor Vekselberg, Director General of Surgutneftegaz Vladimir Bogdanov, member of Sibur’s board of directors Kirill Shamalov, businessmen Igor Rotenberg, Oleg Deripaska and Suleiman Kerimov.