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Russia hints at tit-for-tat response to EU sanctions

Russia's foreign ministry said on Saturday that Moscow has the right of a tit-for-tat response to the second wave of sanctions imposed by the European Union over Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea.

The EU imposed a new set of sanctions on Friday adding 12 Russians and Ukrainians to a list of people targeted by EU asset freezes and travel bans.

There are now 33 on the list.

People in Lenin Square attend a pro Russian rally after a day of voting on March 16, 2014 in Simferopol, Ukraine.
Getty Images
People in Lenin Square attend a pro Russian rally after a day of voting on March 16, 2014 in Simferopol, Ukraine.

"It's a pity that the European Council made a decision that is divorced from reality," the ministry's spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement on the ministry's website.

"We believe it is time to return to the platform of pragmatic cooperation that reflects the interests of our countries. However, of course, the Russian side reserves itself the right to give a comparable answer to the actions taken."

In a separate statement, the ministry said Moscow hoped the decision to send to Ukraine a monitoring mission of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe would help resolve what it called an "internal Ukrainian crisis".

On Friday, after several failed attempts in recent weeks, Russia agreed to join the 56 other members of the OSCE in a consensus decision to send a six-month monitoring mission to Ukraine.

"The mission's mandate reflects the new political and legal realities and does not apply to Crimea and Sevastopol, which became a part of Russia," Russian Foreign Ministry said in its statement on Saturday.

"Russia hopes that the objective and impartial work of the international observers will help to overcome the internal Ukrainian crisis, stop rampant nationalist banditry, eradicate ultra-radical tendencies."

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