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Kremlin says US has unleashed economic war on Russia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows Russia's Central Bank headquarters in Moscow.

Russia says the United States has declared an economic war against it with far-reaching consequences for energy markets and global economy.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that Washington “has declared economic war on Russia and it is de facto waging this war.”

Peskov said the Western sanctions were “hostile bacchanalia, which has made the situation very difficult and forces us to think seriously.”

Washington and its European allies have imposed financial curbs on Russia, ranging from an overseas asset freeze on the Russian central bank to a ban on Russian exports of crude oil.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered “a special military operation” in Ukraine over concerns about NATO’s military activities close to Russian borders.

Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil and other energy imports to “cut the main artery” of Russia’s economy.

The Kremlin spokesman said on Wednesday that Moscow would now think very seriously about a response. “The situation demands a rather deep analysis - those decisions announced by President Biden.”

“If you are asking me what Russia is going to do - Russia is going to do what is necessary to defend its interests,” said the Russian official, adding that Russia had been, was and would be a reliable energy supplier.

Russia supplies about 40 percent of Europe’s gas.

In the meantime, the European Union has increased pressure on the Kremlin by threatening the country with further sanctions. The union, however, has been cautious about extending the sanctions regime to oil and gas, due to its vulnerability to a loss of energy supplies.

EU adds 160 Russian individuals, lawmakers to sanctions blacklist

On Wednesday, the 27-nation bloc added 160 Russian individuals and lawmakers to its sanctions blacklist.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said in a tweet that the measures are aimed at “further tightening the net of sanctions responding to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.”

The bloc said in a statement that 146 members of Russia’s upper house of parliament and 14 Kremlin-linked individuals and their relatives would be added to the assets freeze and visa ban blacklist.

The names are set to be unveiled shortly, when the sanctions are formally published in the EU’s official journal.

The measures against Russia are being taken, while analysts keep warning that these sanctions would potentially have major implications for the world’s economy. They said it is very unlikely their impact will be contained to one country’s borders.

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