Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Russian government had proposed to introduce retaliatory sanctions against the U.S. and the EU, but the President did not give the permission to do it.
“The Russian government already proposed some response steps. I believe that this is not necessary,” – the president told reporters.
However, he said, “if something like this continues, of course, we’ll have to think about who and how works in the Russian Federation, in the key sectors of the Russian economy, including the energy sector.”
“We would not like to resort to any response steps, I hope that we will not need them,” – said Putin.
Putin also expressed confidence that the United States had originally been behind the events in Ukraine, but at first remained in the shadow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin during a telephone conversation urged his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama to use the possibilities available to the United States to avoid bloodshed in Ukraine, reported the press service of the Kremlin.
Earlier, the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, told RIA Novosti that Russian President Vladimir Putin would on Monday evening have a conversation with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama.
In Ukraine, on February 22 there took place a change of government, which has all signs of a coup. Verkhovna Rada ousted President Viktor Yanukovych from power, changed the constitution and appointed presidential elections on May 25. Moscow doubts the legitimacy of the decisions of the Rada.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he plans to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Europe next week to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.
“The president (Barack Obama) asked me to meet with Lavrov on Ukraine”, – said Kerry at the Senate hearings.
“In yesterday’s conversation with Foreign Minister Lavrov we agreed to meet soon, next week, in Europe, with the participation of Ukraine and our European partners to discuss de-escalation, demobilization, wide representation in the government, elections support and constitutional reform,” – said Kerry.
Russia does not intend to impose sanctions on U.S. banks, said Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev in an interview with U.S. television channel CNBC.
The bans imposed by the American side is a political question, Ulyukayev said and added that JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, or Bank of America Merrill Lynch can be calm.
Russia does not rule out the introduction of mirror measures in case if U.S. and EU impose sanctions against Russia, told reporters Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexei Likhachev.
He noted that Russia was ready for any consequences regarding the introduction of sanctions against the country.
Earlier, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate of the U.S. Congress approved a bill that would impose sanctions on Russia. The document, in particular, condemned Russian “unjustified military intervention” in Crimea.
The bill gives the U.S. administration the power to take economic measures against the Russian and Ukrainian officials involved, according to U.S. lawmakers, into corruption and human rights violations in Ukraine, as well as against those responsible for the violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the republic.
This implies a ban on the entry of these people in the U.S. and freezing their U.S. accounts.
In addition, the European Commission launched a preliminary preparation of possible sanctions against Russia, although the decision on their introduction has not been made yet.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama discussed the “critical situation” existing in Ukraine, the press service of the Kremlin reported.
It is noted that during the debate there were revealed differences in approaches and assessments of the causes of the current crisis and the current situation.
Putin, in particular, noted that, the current Ukrainian leadership which came to power after an unconstitutional coup, not having a national mandate, imposes the eastern and south-eastern regions and Crimea absolutely illegitimate decisions. According to the head of the Russian state, Moscow cannot ignore calls for help and acts appropriately, in full compliance with international law.
Putin also stressed the utmost importance of Russian-American relations to ensure stability and security in the world.
The conversation took place at the initiative of the American side.
“The United States and Russia are already doing constructive work together and can do more,” – official representative of the U.S. National Security Council at the White House Caitlin Hayden answered the question about the interest of the Washington administration in continuing cooperation with Russia on key international issues.
Hayden also outlined how the United States intended to continue to cooperate in conditions of the existing threat of imposing sanctions against Russia, the opportunity of which is provided by the decree issued by Obama in connection with the situation in Ukraine.
Earlier, U.S. officials announced the freezing of working contacts with Russia in all areas.
Russia and the United States agreed on a draft of the bilateral cooperation to implement the provisions of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), told the head of the Department of Tax and Customs Tariff Policy of the Russian Finance Ministry Ilya Trunin.
FATCA, which is to enter into force for Russia on 1 July 2014, is designed to reduce U.S. tax losses due to offshore schemes used by the Americans for tax evasion. The law requires foreign banks to provide information on the accounts of American clients to the IRS.
The document, according to Trunin, was agreed on and now the Russian government is to decide on the appropriateness of its conclusion. If this happens, the Russian banks wil not have to provide information to the U.S. tax authorities individually, the Federal Tax Service will deal with it.
On January 27 in Paris, representatives of Russia and the U.S. will discuss the details of agreements on bilateral cooperation for the implementation of the provisions of the U.S. law on fiscal discipline in relation to foreign accounts (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, FATCA).
The American law on fiscal discipline in relation to foreign accounts tightens the requirements for reporting information applicable to foreign financial institutions and other financial intermediaries who receive certain types of income from sources in the United States. For individuals and companies that do not disclose the actual American owners of the financial accounts, a certain sanction of 30 % tax is set.
According to Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, the Russian side has prepared the draft of the agreement on FATCA.
Russia and the U.S. are going to reach a new level of economic cooperation. As Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev reported in Davos, Moscow and Washington are now preparing to sign a package of agreements in the business sphere.
According to the minister, the agreements cover such areas as the protection and promotion of investments, phytosanitary control, customs regulation and financial sector. The main task is the maximum approximation to a free trade regime with the United States.
Despite a number of differences in the political sphere, the business between the two countries is very interested in developing cooperation.