The escalation of Russian-Western tensions would enter a new phase: in the hope of creating an “artificial crisis” aimed at weakening the Russian economic and defensive sectors, the West is considering targeting the Russian banking sector. Moscow, for its part, expresses its total readiness to counter possible punitive measures by the West.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Moscow has a strategy to counter possible sanctions against its banks and public debt.
“Of course, all this is unpleasant. Of course, we are preparing for that. We have a plan B just in case such sanctions are introduced. I always say that if there are sanctions against public banks… the government and the country’s banking system have the tools and all the capabilities to, above all, support all clients, ensure that all transactions with them are made, ensure monetary and non-monetary transitions in dollars and through the national currency. In this process, we will react according to the situation. »
The Russian official said that such sanctions were intended to destabilize the situation in Russia.
Siluanov pointed out that the Russian economy was facing two major risks: restrictions on public debt and five state-owned banks. The Minister added that Russia has instruments, including reserve funds, to protect the economy in the event that foreign investors renounce investment in the country as a result of sanctions.
Siluanov met with journalists on Friday after the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Washington. The minister said that investors had asked him about the consequences of the possible introduction of sanctions against the Russian banking sector.
American congressmen have tried to sanction Russian public banks. In their new attempt, Senators Chris Van Hollen and Marco Rubio introduced a bill in early April aimed at blocking the assets of Russian defence companies and prohibiting transactions involving Russian sovereign debt, including government bonds.
Since the Ukrainian crisis in 2014 and the junction of Crimea with Russia after a general referendum, the United States and other Western countries have imposed several sanctions packages against Moscow, claiming that it had played a role in the conflict and opposing reunification. Russia denied its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict and insisted that the referendum on Crimea be conducted in accordance with international standards. In addition, Moscow reacted by introducing an embargo on food products from countries punishing Russians.