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Russia threatens ‘strong response’ to Biden’s sanctions, will hit US in ‘sensitive’ spot

Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg. (The Kremlin/Released)
February 23, 2022

Russia’s Foreign Ministry threatened a “strong response” on Wednesday in retaliation to President Joe Biden’s new round of sanctions this week. Biden ordered new sanctions on Russia in response to Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine, which began on Monday.

In a statement reported by the Russian state-run TASS News Agency, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, “There should be no doubt – sanctions will be met with a strong response, not necessarily symmetrical, but measured and sensitive for the U.S. side.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry statement did not specify what it meant by a “not necessarily symmetrical” response or in what “sensitive” areas the U.S. would be targeted.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a document signifying Russia’s recognition of the sovereignty of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR or DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR or LPR), two areas in eastern Ukraine that have been held by Russian-backed separatists. Shortly after recognizing the DNR and LNR as sovereign, and therefore separate from Ukraine, Putin ordered Russian troops already gathered on Ukraine’s border to cross over under the pretense of protecting the separatist areas from a Ukrainian attack.

Following Putin’s actions, Biden announced an executive order Monday evening blocking any U.S. investments to, from and within the DNR and LNR. On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury Department unveiled further sanctions targeting two major Russian banks and dozens of their subsidiaries, as well as five Russian businessmen with extensive ties to the Russian government.

The Biden administration has called the new U.S. sanctions imposed on Monday and Tuesday as just the “first tranche” of actions to punish Russia.

“As President Biden and our Allies and partners have made clear, we will impose significant costs on Russia for Russia’s actions,” the White House said in a statement.

In its statement Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the new sanctions futile.

“Despite clearly futile efforts made for many years with the goal of hindering our economic development,” the foreign ministry said, “The U.S. is again grasping the restrictions tools, which are ineffective and counterproductive in terms of US interests as well.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that despite the numerous sanctions the U.S. has already employed against Russia in recent years, Russia has been “able to minimize the damage. And even more so, sanctions pressure is not able to affect our determination to firmly defend our interests.”

Despite Russia’s threats of retaliation to the new U.S. sanctions, the foreign ministry statement said Russia is still “open to diplomacy based on the principles of mutual respect, equality and the consideration for each other’s interests.”