News / Europe

Russia Lashes Out at Latest Western Sanctions

A sign showing the logo of Russia's VTB Bank is seen along a road in Moscow, July 17, 2014.
A sign showing the logo of Russia's VTB Bank is seen along a road in Moscow, July 17, 2014.
VOA News

Russia is lashing out at new U.S. and European economic sanctions imposed to protest what the West sees as Moscow's intervention in Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry Wednesday called new restrictions targeting the Russian energy, defense, technology and finance sectors "destructive and short-sighted."  It said Washington is behaving in a "pretentious, prosecutorial manner" that will lead to "further aggravation of U.S.-Russia relations."

The new sanctions, the strongest against Moscow since the Cold War, are aimed at further weakening a Russian economy already sliding toward recession.  U.S. officials say the newest restrictions could affect 30 percent of Russia's banking sector, with other sanctions curbing exports and business with Russian companies.

New US, EU sanctions on Russia

  • Until July 29, 2014, sanctions solely targeted individuals and organizations accused of directly threatening Ukraine and its interests
  • New sanctions prohibit Russian state-owned banks from raising funds in Western capital markets
  • About 30% of Russia’s banking sector will be impacted
  • Energy-related technology used for Russia’s oil exploration and development is blocked
  • Affected areas include technology relating to deep-water or Arctic drilling and exploration projects
  • EU officials say the ban extends to about 10% of overall energy exports to Russia
  • Restrictions on Russian arms exports
  • A ban on trade of dual-use sensitive defense technologies with Russia

Sources: Reuters and multiple news reports

The European Union said it also is targeting eight assitional individuals with sanctions, including three men it identified as close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The EU described one of those sanctioned, Arkady Rotenberg, as Putin's former judo sparring partner and owner of companies that won lucrative contracts at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, along with economic analysts, said the sanctions will soon impact the Russian economy.

"I think they will very quickly show an effect, because the Russian economy is not in a good shape and of course those who are affected by [the sanctions], the Russian oligarchs, won't want their opportunities to move, and their investment of money freely in Europe, to be limited," said Gabriel.

The U.S. and the EU are protesting Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, its alleged support of pro-Russian separatists fighting against Kyiv in eastern Ukraine and its suspected role in the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet, which killed all 298 people aboard.

Western officials say the plane was struck with a Russian-made missile likely fired by rebels who mistakenly thought they were targeting a Ukrainian military aircraft.

The International Monetary Fund has slashed its 2014 economic growth forecast for Russia to nearly zero, down from 1.3 percent last year.

One key Russian lawmaker, Alexei Pushkov, said that with the sanctions, President Barack Obama will go down in history as a U.S. president who started a new Cold War.  The American leader earlier denied such contentions, saying the sanctions are aimed specifically as a response to Russia's actions in Ukraine.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs