NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 12 (RIA Novosti) – Tighter sanctions on Russia’s finance, energy and defense sectors over its alleged aggression in Ukraine will put “significant pressure” on Moscow, US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement on Friday.
“As in all of the sanctions steps we have taken, we have designed the actions announced today to deliver significant pressure on the targets of our sanctions while safeguarding, to the extent possible, global financial markets and the global economy,” the official said.
Washington has added Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, to the list of sanctioned Russian financial entities – VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Bank of Moscow, VEB, Russian Agriculture Bank – and tightened the debt and equity-financing prohibitions on them.
“Russia’s economic and diplomatic isolation will continue to grow as long as its actions do not live up to its words. Russia’s economy is already paying a heavy price for its unlawful behavior. Growth has fallen to near zero, inflation is well above target, and Russian financial markets continue to deteriorate,” added Lew.
The treasury secretary stressed that the restrictive measures could be revoked in case Russia cooperates with Ukraine, as well as other countries, on the issue.
“It is essential that Russia work with Ukraine and other international partners to find a lasting settlement to the conflict. If Russia does so, these new sanctions could be suspended. If instead Russia chooses to continue its violations of international law, the costs will continue to rise.”
The European Union and the United States have ratcheted up sanctions on Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, the claim repeatedly denied by Moscow.
Earlier on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the new measures imposed by the West against the country are not effective and rather positive than negative. Putin stressed also that Russia will always find alternatives to replace those who do not want to work with the country.