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Russia Says 'Will React' If EU Imposes New Sanctions

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (front) and President Vladimir Putin at a signing ceremony in Mongolia on September 3
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (front) and President Vladimir Putin at a signing ceremony in Mongolia on September 3

Russia's Foreign Ministry has warned Moscow will react if the European Union imposes new sanctions against Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis.

The Foreign Ministry in a statement on September 6 said if the new sanctions are implemented, "there will undoubtedly be a reaction from our side."

The EU announced the additional measures on September 5 but said they could be suspended if a cease-fire between pro-Russian separatists and government forces in eastern Ukraine held and Moscow withdrew its troops from Ukraine.

The new sanctions would expand a list of individuals barred from entry to the 28-nation bloc and whose assets are frozen, as well as ban Russian state-owned energy and defense companies from borrowing on EU markets and outlaw the sales of dual-use goods and oil technology.

The sanctions are due to be formally adopted on September 8.

The Foreign Ministry said that by announcing the new sanctions, the EU's leadership "is practically sending a signal of direct support to the 'party of war' in Kyiv, which is unhappy with the outcome of the meeting in Minsk."

In talks in the Belarusian capital on September 5, representatives of Ukraine and the separatists, along with envoys from Russia and the OSCE agreed to a cease-fire.

The Foreign Ministry said that "in essence, the announcement of the upcoming expansion of anti-Russian sanctions has been the EU's first reaction" to the cease-fire which appeared to be largely holding on September 6.

"Instead of feverishly searching for ways to hurt the economies of its own countries and Russia, the European Union would do better to work on supporting the economic revival of the Donbas region" of eastern Ukraine, the statement said.

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European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso said in a letter to European leaders that the new measures were an "effective tool" to "reinforce the principle that EU sanctions are directed at promoting a change of course in Russia's actions in Ukraine".

Van Rompuy and Barroso said the new sanctions would target more people linked to the separatist leadership in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, the government of Crimea, and Russian "decision-makers and oligarchs."

An EU spokeswoman said in a statement on September 6 that EU leaders hope the agreed cease-fire "will be a first stop towards a sustainable political solution, based on respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Western nations say Russia is supporting the separatists with troops and weapons. Russia denies this.

Moscow banned food imports from the EU in response to a previous round of EU sanctions.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, ITAR-TASS, and Interfax