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Kremlin shrugs off latest Western sanctions against Russia

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin on Monday shrugged off the latest round of Western sanctions against Moscow, saying that Russia’s economy had adapted to restrictions and that those imposing sanctions were hurting themselves with any new measures.

The United States on Friday imposed extensive sanctions against Russia, targeting more than 500 people and entities to mark the second anniversary of what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine and retaliate for the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

“Nothing fundamentally new has been announced, and it is unlikely that anything fundamentally new can be thought up by those who impose these sanctions without harming their own economy,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Peskov said sanctions were causing indirect harm to the European economy and the interests of U.S. companies.

Last week’s sanctions targeted Russia’s Mir payment system, financial institutions and its military industrial base, sanctions evasion, future energy production and leading tanker group Sovcomflot, as well as other areas.

Sanctions also targeted prison officials the United States says are linked to Navalny’s death.

“The Russian economy has demonstrated its resilience,” Peskov said. “It has adapted and continues its development.”

Russia’s economy rebounded sharply in 2023 from a slump in 2022, but the growth relies heavily on state-funded arms and ammunition production and masks problems that are hampering an improvement in Russians’ living standards.

The International Monetary Fund expects Russia’s economy to grow 2.6% this year, but anticipates tough times ahead. The Bank of Russia forecasts 2024 economic growth at 1.0-2.0%.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Ros Russell)

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