MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) — Continuing sanctions pressure on Moscow is counterproductive and seriously harms Russia-US relations, President Vladimir Putin told his US counterpart, Barack Obama, in a phone call on Friday.
«The sides discussed several aspects of Russia-US relations. Putin described Washington’s drive to strengthen sanctions pressure [on Moscow] as a counterproductive move that seriously harms bilateral cooperation and global stability as a whole," the Kremlin said in a statement.
«The presidents agreed that the current state of affairs is not in the interest of either country…and discussed prospects of the Russian-American dialogue in light of the current standoff," the statement said.
Last month, the United States introduced the so-called Sectoral Sanctions Identification List that affects companies and institutions in defense, energy and banking sectors of the Russian economy. The new economic sanctions targeting three major banks — VTB Group, Bank of Moscow and Russian Agricultural Bank, or Rosselkhozbank - went in effect July 29.
The European Commission followed by publishing on Wednesday the names of eight individuals and three additional Russian entities targeted by sanctions over Russia's alleged role in the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis.
The sanctions came after the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in eastern Ukraine, which is largely controlled by independence supporters, on July 17. The European Union and the United States both claim Russian responsibility in supplying the independence supporters with the weapons, used to shoot down the airliner with 298 people on board. Moscow denies weapon transfer arms to the self-defence forces.
Washington, however, is seeking a number of Asian countries to back new US and EU economic sanctions against Russia, Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday citing a senior State Department official.
The first round of sanctions against Russia was implemented by the United States and the European Union back in March as a response to Crimea’s reunification with Russia following a referendum.