Russia hits out at West over threats of sanctions on Putin

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Kremlin says this will hurt efforts to lower Ukraine tensions.

Russia hit back on Wednesday at U.S. threats of direct sanctions against President Vladimir Putin, saying moves against the Russian leader would be ineffective and hurt efforts to lower tensions over Ukraine.

Officials from France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine were set for talks in Paris on Wednesday in the latest bid to ease a crisis.

 

The West has warned Russia of severe consequences if it does invade Ukraine, and on Tuesday, Washington said there could be sanctions personally targeting Putin.

Reacting to the news, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the threats as worthless because senior Russian officials are barred from holding assets abroad.

But such a move, he said, would do serious damage to diplomatic efforts to ease tensions over Ukraine.

“Politically, it’s not painful, it’s destructive,” Mr. Peskov told reporters.

The Kremlin has previously said any U.S. sanctions personally targeting Mr. Putin would be akin to crossing a red line.

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that any Russian attack on Ukraine would trigger “enormous consequences” and could even “change the world”.

A senior U.S. official said new measures would include restrictions on exports of high-tech U.S. equipment in the artificial intelligence, quantum computing and aerospace sectors.

Cutting Russia off from these technologies would hit Putin’s “strategic ambitions to industrialise his economy quite hard”, the official said.

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