“Attempts to speak to Russia in the language of force and threaten Russian citizens with sanctions will lead nowhere,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The adoption of restrictive measures is not our choice; however, it is clear that the imposition of sanctions against us will not go without an adequate response from the Russian side.”
All Russian MPs volunteer to be subject to US, EU sanctions
The Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, has unanimously passed a statement in which they volunteered to be subject to the US and EU sanctions imposed on individual Russian officials and lawmakers due to the referendum in Crimea.
“We suggest that Mr. Obama [US President Barack Obama] and EU bureaucrats put all of the Duma deputies who voted for Crimea’s accession to Russia and for this resolution on the ‘black list’ of persons subject to the US and EU sanctions,” the statement says.
Leader of the Just Russia party Sergei Mironov said he was proud to be on the US sanctions list. “It is with pride that I have found myself on the black list, this means they have noticed my stance on Crimea. It is funny that they will freeze accounts. I want to respond by re-phrasing the phrase from the Golden Calf [satirical novel] – ‘Keep looking, Shura, keep looking.’ No accounts exists, let them introduce sanctions as much as they want,” Mironov told reporters on Tuesday.
The statement Russia’s State Duma is to pass today on Crimea could be a response to the sanctions, Mironov said.
“We are very inter-dependable in the world” and for now it is too early to say certain things on how Russia could react, though this is wanted very much, Mironov said. As to mass media reports on the possibility of the Crimean referendum scenario in Transdniestria, one should not jump ahead, Mironov said.
“We will react to facts, including legal facts, though the example of Crimea is a very inspiring example for many Russian people,” Mironov said in the State Duma.
The European Union has unveiled its list of sanctioned Russians and Crimeans whom it implicated in organizing the crucial referendum on Crimea’s independence. The EU version of the list, duplicated by the US, includes 13 Russians and eight people from Crimea and specifically targets political officials.
Italy’s foreign chief Federica Mogherini said earlier the EU sanctions would be in force for six months. This came after today’s meeting of 28 EU ministers and officials in Brussels. According to Mogherini, the sanctions will include visa bans and financial restrictions. However they will not affect representatives of Russia’s leadership, journalists and employees of nongovernmental structures.
The European Union took a cautious approach to imposing sanctions against Moscow, while leaving open the possibility of adding harsher economic measures when EU leaders meet later this week.
The 21 named officials are part of an original list that EU had drawn up last week that ran at about 120-130 people, Reuters says. It has since been shortened.
Among them are Crimea’s Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliev, Parliament Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov, Crimea’s Navy Commander Deniz Berezovsky, as well as Russia’s Security and Defense Committee Chairman Viktor Ozerov, Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Law Andrei Klishas, and MP Nikolai Ryzhkov, to name a few.
EU sanctions require unanimity among all 28 member states. There are several countries, including Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain and Portugal, that have reservations about the decision. However, there are some EU members, like Poland, that reportedly pushed for expanding the list on Monday but failed to get enough support.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the damage inflicted by possible sanctions concerning the situation in Ukraine will be “mutual”. While the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow will respond to possible sanctions, not necessarily mirroring them.
The EU and US sanctions follow the Crimean Parliament’s adoption of the resolution on the independence of Crimea on Monday, which declares the Black Sea peninsula an independent, sovereign state and appeals to join Russia as a republic.