- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Russia condemned new sanctions Tuesday from the Obama administration and the European Union over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, saying the West is inflicting a new “Iron Curtain” reminiscent of the Cold War.

Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the new round of U.S. sanctions announced Monday might harm its high-tech sector and that the EU was “under Washington’s thumb.”

“This is a revival of a system created in 1949 when Western countries essentially lowered an ‘Iron Curtain,’ cutting off supplies of high-tech goods to the USSR and other countries,” Mr. Rybakov told the online newspaper Gazeta.ru.

On Tuesday, the EU published a list of 15 individuals facing new travel bans and asset freezes. The list includes Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian general staff; Lt. Gen. Igor Sergun, head of the Russian military intelligence agency, and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine including Denis Pushilin, the self-declared leader of the “Donetsk People’s Republic.”

The EU said the 15 are “responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was alarmed by the worsening security situation in eastern Ukraine and called on Russia to take “concrete steps” to comply with an April 17 agreement to ease tensions.

A Russian foreign ministry statement said the EU was “doing Washington’s bidding with new unfriendly gestures towards Russia.”

“If that is how someone in Brussels is hoping to stabilize the situation in Ukraine, then it is a clear indication of a complete lack of understanding of the interior political situation in the country,” the ministry statement said. “Are you not ashamed?”

The Obama administration on Monday announced a new round of economic and travel sanctions against seven Russian officials and 17 companies linked to the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin. U.S. officials said the steps were necessary because Russia has not reduced tensions and violence in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian militants have seized government buildings in about a dozen cities.

But even President Obama said Monday he isn’t sure whether the new sanctions will have any effect on Moscow’s policies.

Mr. Rybakov said Russia has no intention of invading eastern Ukraine.

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