MOSCOW, August 8 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow is not scared by the recent EU sanctions, which only harm relations between Russia and Europe and prompted a retaliatory response, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said Friday.
Karasin met earlier in the day with EU envoy to Russia Vygaudas Usackas to discuss the spiraling 'war of sanctions' between Russia and the West over the Ukrainian crisis.
"The Russian side stressed that EU sanctions against Russian individuals and entities are not scaring anyone. They only escalate the situation and lead it to a dead end,” the Foreign Ministry quoted Karasin as saying.
The ministry said in a statement that the Russian government had been forced to adopt restrictive measures to protect the country’s national security in face of western sanctions.
“As we have repeatedly stated, it is not our choice, but we will not leave the escalation of sanctions [by the West] unanswered,” the statement said.
Karasin and Usackas also discussed the Ukraine, including the humanitarian crisis in the southern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
“Both sides stated it is necessarily that the UN and other international organizations to immediately take part in the settlement [of the crisis] ,” the foreign ministry added.
The United States, the European Union and ally countries have introduced several rounds of targeted sanctions against Russian companies and individuals since Crimea’s reunification with Russia in March. In a more recent incident in July, the United States and the EU introduced sectoral sanctions targeting defense, energy and banking sectors of Russian economy.
Moscow stressed that Russia was never involved in the Ukrainian conflict and has repeatedly called the measures counterproductive, saying the sanctions could have a boomerang effect on European economies.
Starting August 7, Russia imposed a one-year ban on agricultural and food product imports from some countries that have imposed sanctions on Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis, including the European Union. The list includes meat, poultry, fish, seafood, milk, dairy products, as well as fruits and vegetables.
Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Ukraine’s eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk hit by Kiev’s military operation is deteriorating.
According to a report by the mission of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a total of 1,367 people have been killed since the start of the special operation in eastern Ukraine in mid-April and another 4,087 have been wounded, including 2,589 civilians and 29 children. The operation has also forced 117,000 Ukrainians to flee their homes and cross into neighboring Russia in search of shelter.