President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday the Kremlin is readying retaliatory measures against the Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported Tuesday.
"This must be done very carefully, to support domestic producers but not harm consumers," he was quoted as saying in Interfax, and continued:
Political tools of economic pressure are unacceptable, they contradict all norms and rules.
In that connection, the government of Russia has already proposed a series of retaliatory measures against the so-called sanctions of certain countries. I think that in current conditions, with the goal of protecting the interests of domestic producers, we could certainly think about that.
The European economic sanctions imposed last week forced the country to close Dobrolet, an airline that was flying into Crimea.
The U.S. has also imposed tough sanctions, including ones that target some of the country's most profitable companies, Russian officials, and individuals close to Putin himself:
- Gazprombank, Russia's third largest bank
- Vnesheconombank, bank with close ties to Putin
- Novatek, largest supplier of natural gas in Russia
- Rosneft, energy company with ties to Chevron and Exxon Mobil
President Barack Obama had said the sanctions were "significant but also targeted" to prevent "spillover effects" on U.S. businesses.
"I have repeatedly made it clear that Russia must halt the flow of weapons and fighters into Ukraine," he said last month. "We have to see concrete actions and not just words that Russia is committed to trying to end this conflict along the Russia-Ukraine border."
Obama has found support from European Union leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In a press briefing Tuesday, Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, explained that members of the American military remain in Kiev to help with the Malaysia Air Flight 17 investigation. "They will not leave Kiev," he said.