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Medvedev: Russia could close airspace if West brings new sanctions

EU ready to review Russia sanctions if ceasefire holds. Ukraine PM: Putin wants to create in the Eastern part of the country “another Transnistria”.

While Ukraine truce was shaken by the new shelling which occurred on Sunday near Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine, talks over the Russian airspace, Putin’s plans and EU sanctions go deeper.
Hence, the truce held for much of Saturday but shelling in Mariupol, which killed one woman, was followed by the Donetsk airport blasts early on Sunday. The two cities then turned quiet, with no reports of clashes overnight. Also, the local militia in Donetsk freed 15 Ukrainian soldiers from Cherkas and the 40th battalion of the ground defense.
But this didn’t stop Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to warn that Russia could close its airspace to Western carriers if new European sanctions target Russia’s oil and gas companies or impose additional financing restrictions. “I hoped that our partners would be smarter,” Medvedev told business daily Vedomosti in an interview published Monday and quoted by The Moscow Times. “If there are sanctions related to the energy sector, or further restrictions on Russia’s financial sector, we will have to respond asymmetrically”. An expansion to European Union sanctions, expected to be implemented today, would ban three of Russia’s main oil companies — Gazprom Neft, Transneft and Rosneft — from raising money on European capital markets for longer than 30 days, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing documents detailing the measures. The expansion to EU sanctions introduced in July would also limit the time of fund-raising to 30 days, down from the previous 90 days, for five state-run banks, including Sberbank and VTB, the report said. Medvedev said he had already proposed at a government meeting that Russia could respond to any new sanctions with an air-traffic restriction, according to the text of his interview published on the Cabinet website.
Brussels is “ready to review” new sanctions it plans to impose on Russia if a truce between pro-Moscow rebels and Kiev holds, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said on Sunday. “We have noted that Russia only consented with difficulty to serious negotiations. The ceasefire is an important step, but it is only a step,” Van Rompuy told Belgian television channel VRT. “We are ready if the ceasefire is durable, and/or if the peace talks start, to review these sanctions.”
As for Ukraine’s latest reaction to the new developments, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseny Iateniuk stated on Sunday that Ukraine will have to create martial law in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions (Eastern), if the truce came into effect on Friday will not have positive results, RIA Novosti news agency reported. In addition, the Ukrainian Prime Minister called on the West to support sanctions against Russia, in spite of durable peace agreement in Eastern Ukraine. He also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin will continue to try to provoke a new source of tension in Ukraine, with the aim of creating in Lugansk and Donetsk, as Transnistria, Abhazie or Osetie,” reports the Agency Ukrainian TODAY.

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