MOSCOW, July 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday the country needs to think of additional steps to protect its national economy and financial system, including protection from external factors such as political risks.
“I believe that we need to think of additional steps to decrease the dependency of the national economy and its financial system from unfavorable external factors. I have in mind not just the instability on the global markets, but also possible political risks,” Putin said during a Security Council meeting.
Last week, the US Treasury introduced a so-called Sectoral Sanctions Identification List that targeted the defense, energy and banking sectors of the Russian economy. The West sees sanctions as an adequate response to Moscow’s alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
Following this decision, the head of Russia’s largest oil producer, Rosneft, slammed the new round of restrictions that for the first time involved his company for trying to strangle the national economy.
“Because Rosneft is a major budget revenue generating entity in Russia, the real target of these sanctions is not the company itself, but the implementation of Russia’s sovereign policy," Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin said, adding it was “an attempt to worsen the economic situation of the Russian people.”
President Putin warned Washington about a possible backlash as the sanctions could hurt US companies seeking to increase their share in Russia’s energy producing sector.
On Monday, Russia also cautioned Ukraine it was mulling protection measures in its trade with Kiev. This followed the European Union’s decision to include Ukraine in its free trade zone, meaning Russia could face an influx of tariff-free goods from Europe.