MOSCOW, March 17 (RAPSI) – Russia may consider leaving the World Trade Organization (WTO) in light of sanctions over Russia’s handling of the Ukraine crisis, State Duma lawmaker Sergey Mironov told journalists Monday.
“I can assure you that we are a far cry from having shown all our cards,” Mironov said. He added that Europe may be affected even more than Russia if economic sanctions are applied. A Just Russia party, which Mironov heads, is ready to move forward with putting Russia’s exit from the WTO on the agenda.
On Monday, US President Barrack Obama announced the imposition of sanctions against 11 Russians and Ukrainians blamed for Russia’s actions with regard to Ukraine, Reuters reported. The list reportedly includes high-ranking Russian officials Vladislov Surkov and Sergei Glazyev, as well as overthrown Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.
Senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer told NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, “You can expect sanctions designations in the coming days,” adding, “We are putting as much pressure on the Russians as we can to do the right thing.”
The EU on Monday agreed on travel bans and asset freezes to be imposed against 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials, the BBC reported. So far, the officials have not been named. Earlier in the month, the EU suspended visa-liberalization talks with Russia.
Reuters reported that additional measures would follow after an EU summit in Brussels, at which point the list is expected to be expanded – reaching senior officials.
On February 22, Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada (parliament) impeached Yanukovich and amended the constitution. Presidential authority was assigned to parliament speaker Alexander Turchinov and a presidential election was scheduled for May 25.
Russia has marked the events that have unfolded in Ukraine recently a coup, and the armed seizure of power. President Vladimir Putin said during a press conference earlier in March that Yanukovich, who fled to Russia, remains Ukraine’s legitimate president.
Crimea, a peninsula of some 2 million people, has resisted the authority of the leadership that came to power in Kiev last month. 96,7% of Crimean voters backed the region’s accession to Russia and independence from Ukraine on Sunday on the referendum.