Kremlin promises retaliation after Western sanctions

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia will retaliate with sanctions on Western countries in accordance with the principle of reciprocity, a Kremlin spokesman said on Friday.

The United States, European Union, Britain, Japan, Canada and Australia on Thursday unveiled new sanctions against Russia following Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine.

Western sanctions will hurt Russia but the country should be able to overcome them, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Moscow had deliberately reduced its dependence on foreign imports.

“The main goal…was to ensure full self-sufficiency and full import substitution if necessary,” said Dmitry Peskov.

“To a large extent, this objective has been achieved,” he added.

Dmitry Peskov would not comment on the duration of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said questions about Ukrainian civilian deaths should be directed to the military.

The Russian Ministry of Economy has indicated that the country, already targeted by measures in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea, would strengthen its trade and economic relations with Asia.

“We understand that the sanctions pressure we have faced since 2014 will now intensify,” the ministry said. “The rhetoric from some of our foreign colleagues was such that we have long been prepared for potential new sanctions.”

(Report Dmitry Antonov, with Marc Jones, Olzhas Auyezov and Alexander Marrow, French version Laetitia Volga, edited by Jean-Michel Bélot)

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