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Lavrov: Further Sanctions Against Russia Will Deepen Ukrainian Crisis

Continuing sanction pressure on Russia will only deteriorate the Ukrainian crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Updated 10:25 a.m. Moscow Time

MOSCOW, September 17 (RIA Novosti) - Continuing sanction pressure on Russia will only deteriorate the Ukrainian crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"It is obvious that the continuation of sanction pressure on Russia will not help resolve the internal crisis in Ukraine but will rather deepen the confrontation and complicate dialogue," Lavrov said in an interview with El Pais newspaper published on Wednesday.

The minister also stressed that Russia reserves the right to take measures to protect its legitimate interests, including in the sphere of national security. "At the same time we hope that pragmatism and common sense will prevail in the approaches of our partners at last. The US, the European Union and other states should finally yield to reason and stop following this meaningless "tit-for-tat" line that they started themselves," Lavrov underlined.

The new round of sanctions against Russia was introduced by the European Union and the United States last Friday. The Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the restrictions, accusing Brussels of unwillingness to recognize Moscow's peacemaking efforts in Ukraine and labeling the new restrictions as illegitimate.

Russia is considering retaliating by capping imports of Western cars and clothing, as Andrey Belousov, Assistant to the President of Russia, stated.

New EU sanctions curb access to western financial markets for some of Russia's largest firms and target banks, arms manufacturers, the country's leading oil company, Rosneft, as well as the crude subsidiary of its state-owned energy giant Gazprom.

Moreover, sanctions include asset freezes and travel bans on Igor Lebedev, deputy speaker of the Russian State Duma lower house of parliament, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and a number of leaders of independence supporters in eastern Ukraine.

Also sanctioned was Sergei Chemezov, described as a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin from his KGB days in East Germany. He is chairman of Rostech, a leading defense and industrial group that includes arms supplier Rosoboronexport and a firm that is planning to build energy plants in Crimea.

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