Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner Calls Australia’s Sanctions ‘Unfriendly Move’

MOSCOW, June 19 (RIA Novosti) – Australia’s decision to introduce sanctions against a range of Russian individuals and companies amid the Ukraine crisis is counterproductive, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights said Thursday, warning that Moscow would retaliate against the move.

On Thursday, Australia’s targeted financial sanctions and travel bans on 50 Russian individuals and 11 companies “who have been instrumental in the Russian threat to Ukraine sovereignty” entered into force, the country’s Foreign Ministry announced.

“If so, this is an absolutely counterproductive step and any unilateral sanctions do not help the case,” Konstantin Dolgov said.

“This is the step which is certainly unfriendly. This is the infringement of legal rights and interests of the Russian citizens. As usual, we do not leave such steps without a relevant and adequate response,” he stressed.

The diplomat said Russia’s stance refers to all the unilateral sanctions and is well-known.

Australia announced plans to introduce sanctions against Russia in March, banning 12 individuals from entering the country in response to Russia’s reunification with Crimea, formerly part of Ukraine. Last month, Australia decided to add another 38 Russian individuals and 11 companies to the sanctions list.

The individuals targeted by sanctions include Vladislav Surkov and Sergei Glazyev, who are key aides to the Russian president, Russia’s upper house speaker Valentina Matviyenko and Russia’s lower house speaker Sergei Naryshkin, as well as Deputy Prime Ministers Dmitry Rogozin and Dmitry Kozak.

The sanctions list also includes Rossiya Bank, InvestCapitalBank, SMP Bank, Avia Group Nord, Chernomornaftogaz and other companies.

Since March, similar punitive measures against Russian and Ukrainian officials accused of alleged involvement in the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis have been taken by the US and EU. Apart from imposing targeted sanctions against individuals and companies, the West has also threatened Russia with sanctions against key sectors of the country’s economy.

Moscow has repeatedly stated that the language of sanctions is «inappropriate and counterproductive» and warned its Western partners about the «boomerang effect» that sanctions would have.

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