- ‘Vicious’ Sanctions Are Hurting Russia, But Moscow Has Plan to Ditch US Dollar & Axe Dependency on West, Foreign Ministry Tells RT
by Gabriel Gavin, in Moscow, https://www.rt.com/
Facing harsh economic measures imposed by Washington and its allies in Europe, Russia is working to cut Western influence out of its economy, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an exclusive interview with RT.
In April, US President Joe Biden unveiled a new package of sanctions against Russian businesses and officials, while, at the same time, effectively banning American financial institutions from buying shares in Russian sovereign debt. Officials in Washington described the restrictions as a “proportional” response to alleged meddling by Moscow in the 2020 US presidential election, and assertions Russia was behind the colossal SolarWinds cyber-espionage breach detected last year. The Kremlin has strongly denied both sets of claims.
The UK and the EU have both since rolled out their own sanctions, and there is talk in European capitals of more measures to come. Few moves have been as extreme, though, as the decision to target national debt bonds, which the White House says was designed to hit the country’s economy while minimizing the impact on world markets. However, some economists claimed the package of measures was mostly “symbolic,” and the new rules could simply be “circumvented” if buyers still wanted to pick up shares in Russian debt.
‘A gesture of desperation’
The characteristically blunt Zakharova told RT over the weekend that new economic barriers were “having a complex negative impact on both Russian and Western economies.” According to her, the price of playing out hostilities through the financial markets is high, and “estimates of the damage vary, but are well within the hundreds of billions of dollars.”