Ukraine crisis: Russia condemns US 'Iron Curtain' sanctions and says EU is 'under Washington's thumb'

The European Union today released the names of 15 new people it is targeting for sanctions because of their roles in the Ukraine crisis

A top Russian diplomat has accused the US of resorting to 'Iron Curtain' policies used in Cold War times and has condemned the sanctions imposed by the United States and the EU in the wake of the rapidly escalating crisis in Ukraine.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said sanctions could harm its hi-tech sector and Moscow said the EU should be ashamed of extending its sanctions and was "under Washington's thumb".

The European Union today released the names of 15 new people it is targeting for sanctions because of their roles in the Ukraine crisis.

The list includes General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian General Staff and first deputy defense minister, and Lt. Gen. Igor Sergun, identified as head of GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency.

The decision taken by the EU governments' ambassadors in Brussels brings the total number of Russians or pro-Russian individuals in Ukraine targeted by the EU's sanctions to 48.

Any bank accounts or other economic assets the sanctioned individuals hold in EU member countries are now supposed to be frozen, and they will no longer be allowed to travel to the EU's 28 member states.

The EU move comes after the US decided to broaden its own sanctions to include seven Russian government officials and 17 companies with links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In response to the move Mr Ryabkov told the online newspaper Gazeta.ru that the US sanctions were "a blow to our hi-tech enterprises and industries".

He added: "This is a revival of a system created in 1949 when Western countries essentially lowered an 'Iron Curtain', cutting off supplies of hi-tech goods to the USSR and other countries."

The Russian foreign ministry later released a statement saying EU was "doing Washington's bidding with new unfriendly gestures towards Russia".

It added: "If that is how someone in Brussels is hoping to stabilise the situation in Ukraine, then it is a clear indication of a complete lack of understanding of the interior political situation in the country... Are you not ashamed?"

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