Moscow slams US and EU for imposing more sanctions on Russian firms and individuals close to President Vladimir Putin.
29 April 2014
Russia has told the United States it has no intention of invading Ukraine and expressed concern about the build-up of American and Nato forces in eastern Europe.
Four British Typhoon fighter jets have arrived at a Nato base in Lithuania to take part in increased Baltic border patrols, while 600 US troops have been deployed to Poland and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, reportedly for military exercises.
It comes as the US and European Union imposed more sanctions on Russian firms and individuals close to President Vladimir Putin.
Japan has also imposed visa bans on 23 Russian officials.
Moscow denounced the new US sanctions, accusing Washington of using Cold War tactics from a “bygone era”.
It also criticised the new European measures, saying the EU was simply doing Washington’s bidding and should be ashamed of itself.
In an hour-long phone call with Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu voiced concern about an “unprecedented” increase in US and Nato activity near Russia’s borders.
Allies of Mr Putin have been subjected to visa bans and asset freezes, including his friend Igor Sechin, head of oil giant Rosneft.
US officials said America’s penalties, which affect seven individuals and 17 companies, were aimed at “cronies” of the Russian leader.
President Barack Obama said: “The goal is not to go after Mr Putin personally.
“The goal is to change his calculus with respect to how the current actions he’s engaging in Ukraine could have an adverse impact on the Russian economy over the long haul.”
Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov described the US sanctions as illegitimate, uncivilised and in breach of international law.