Russia yesterday accused the United States of seeking to revive Iron Curtain policies, saying Washington's latest sanctions over Ukraine would hurt bilateral cooperation in high-tech and space sectors.
While Russian officials acknowledged that the latest US sanctions would harm the country's economy and said Moscow would retaliate, they also sought to maintain a facade of bravado, saying the measures would consolidate Russia and improve production.
"The seriousness of these measures is absolutely obvious to us," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with online newspaper Gazeta.ru.
"All of that is a blow to our high-tech enterprises and industries," he said.
"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. Today, in 2014, the United States is attempting to do the same."
He said the sanctions would affect cooperation in the high-tech sector, supplies of US goods that can be used for both military and civilian purposes, and the launch of US-made space vehicles.
He said Moscow did not want to see a rupture in ties with Washington and Brussels but stressed that Russia would retaliate.
"We already have something and something will be introduced shortly. The question is, what the symmetrical answer will be, what will be part of it," said Ryabkov, adding that Moscow would punish the United States at its own pace.
"You know, we would like to reflect on that. Why should we immediately, without a pause undertake something?"
Ramping up Moscow's rhetoric, Ryabkov called Washington and "several European capitals" Kiev's puppeteers but reiterated pledges that Russia will not invade eastern Ukraine.
Moscow yesterday accused the European Union of following the United States in the Ukraine crisis, after the bloc unveiled a new set of sanctions against Moscow.
"Instead of forcing the Kiev clique to sit down at the negotiating table with the southeast of Ukraine over the future makeup of the country, our partners are doing Washington's bidding with new unfriendly gestures towards Russia," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
"If that's how Brussels is hoping to stabilise the situation in Ukraine, then this is obvious evidence of complete incomprehension of the internal political situation in (Ukraine)," the statement said. "Are you not ashamed?" the ministry added.
Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin for his part called the sanctions an "absolutely counterproductive" measure which was driving the crisis towards "a dead end".
"Instead of this, it's necessary to make collective efforts and influence the Kiev authorities to start real dialogue with the Ukrainian regions and stop all sorts of military and special operations against their own people," Karasin said, the state RIA Novosti news agency.
Russia's Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said the sanctions would only serve to fuel greater solidarity among Russians.
"I believe this will be a good impetus to our production," Chaika was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.