Russia's largest oil company, Rosneft, is threatening to sue the Russian daily "Kommersant" for a report alleging Rosneft sent President Vladimir Putin proposals for countersanctions against Western companies and individuals.
"Kommersant" reported on October 29 that state-run Rosneft's proposals include limiting cooperation aboard the International Space Station, prohibiting burial of U.S. and EU nuclear waste in Russia, and possible confiscation of property in Russia owned by Western countries or their citizens.
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, denied there were any Rosneft proposals for sanctions, but presidential aide Andrei Belousov and Economy Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev seemed to contradict this.
State-run TASS reported Peskov said reports that Rosneft had sent such proposals were untrue.
Peskov said decisions on imposing sanctions were made "in line with the relevant departments and taken on the level of the government and president."
A different TASS report quoted Belousov as saying, "We are closely studying Rosneft's proposals."
Belousov went on to say, "I would say the radicalism of the proposals for now exceeds the current level of tensions."
The Interfax news agency quoted Ulyukayev as saying the proposals were a "very complex document" and adding, "I don’t think it is grounds for making any decisions."
The "Kommersant" report said "Russian government officials" had provided information about the alleged proposals.
A statement from Rosneft said the company was "deeply shocked" by the "Kommersant" article and might sue the newspaper.
Western governments have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The sanctions target key Russian industries and individuals close to Putin, including Rosneft and its head, Igor Sechin, who is a former Kremlin deputy chief of staff.
The sanctions have hurt Rosneft, which has already requested additional funding from the Russian government to make up for losses incurred due to sanctions.
British oil company BP reported on October 28 that its income from its operations with Rosneft dropped from $808 million in the third quarter of 2013 to $110 million in the same period this year.
With reporting by TASS, Interfax, Reuters, and "Kommersant"