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Russia has 'tools' to respond to EU’s 10th package of sanctions: Deputy FM

This picture of Alexander Grushko, the Russian present deputy foreign minister was taken in NATO HQ in Brussels, Belgium in July 2016. (File photo by Reuters)

Russia says it possesses sufficient "tools" to counter the latest US-led anti-Moscow sanctions to be slapped later this month by the European Union on the Russian nation over Ukraine's war.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Friday that "there certainly are tools" for responding to the fresh EU sanctions, adding that the previous sanctions had backfired and caused more damage to the European Union itself.

Grushko told the Rossiya-24 TV channel that the EU’s tenth package of sanctions planned against Moscow will not have an impact on the Russian economy.

He pointed out that the sanctions had failed to achieve their goal as "they changed neither Russia’s foreign policy course nor its desire to become a full member of the new multipolar world order."

Grushko said the US-led sanctions had been the cause of increased economic difficulties for the European Union.

"If we speak about the energy sector alone, Western economists estimate that the overall damage caused by the energy sanctions amount to about one trillion euros," the senior Russian diplomat noted.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated earlier on Thursday that the EU’s tenth package of sanctions on Russia, which Brussels planned to introduce by February 24.

The fresh sanctions will include new export bans worth more than 10 billion euros ($10.7 billion), von der Leyen said during a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The sanctions "will further starve Russia's military machine and shake the foundations of its economy", she claimed, saying that the new restrictions fill the gaps left by the previous sanctions.

In the meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin bade farewell to foreign companies that left Russia, saying the Russians will be better off without them.

In a televised meeting with senior officials on Thursday, Putin declared that in spite of the West's economic sanctions against the nation, the country was doing well and economists expected to see financial growth this year.

"For many of those who tried and are trying to create problems for us, it was a surprise how effectively we are countering the threats in the economy and in certain sectors of production," Putin stated.

"International institutions have to acknowledge that not only has Russia coped with the shocks that were expected ... slight growth is expected in the Russian economy this year," the Russian leader said.

Moscow has acknowledged that it initially faced some problems due to the West's economic sanctions slapped on the nation in the past year over its military operation in Ukraine; however, its economy had now adjusted and the sanctions had boomeranged against the West by driving up inflation and energy prices.

At the meeting, Putin bade farewell to foreign companies which had left Russia since last February, saying their departure would benefit Russian companies.

He said those companies had suffered major losses as a result of exiting the massive and lucrative Russian market.

"Today many of them (Western brands), under pressure from their governments, are leaving our market. All the best to them," he said, waving his hand in a farewell gesture.

"Nothing (in Russia) has collapsed and nothing is falling apart. Our companies and entrepreneurs are picking up these enterprises, and even entire sectors, and continue this work very successfully," Putin assured

Scores of Western companies - from energy producers to food and clothing chains - have left Russia in the last year, amid an unprecedented slew of US-led sanctions imposed by the western allies after Russia began its special operation in pro-Russian regions in eastern Ukraine almost a year ago.

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