Russia dismisses new US sanctions, saying ‘you will never defeat Moscow’

Russia on Friday dismissed new US sanctions over the war in Ukraine, saying that the United States would never defeat Moscow, while the boss of Russia’s fastest growing natural gas company quipped the sanctions were a badge of success.

The United States on Thursday targeted Russia’s future energy capabilities, sanctions evasion and a suicide drone that has been a menace to Ukrainian troops and equipment, among others, in sanctions on hundreds of people and entities.

“This is a continuation of the policy of inflicting as they call it – a strategic defeat on us,” Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, told Russian state television when asked about the new sanctions.

“They will have to wait in vain forever before that happens.”

Western leaders and Ukraine have repeatedly said they seek to defeat Russia on the battlefield, though some Western leaders have denied what President Vladimir Putin says is a Western plot to carve up Russia and steal its natural resources.

Putin is girding the $2.1 trillion economy for a long war and Western hopes of stoking a swift Russian economic crisis with some of the toughest sanctions ever imposed have not been realised.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts Russian growth of 2.2% this year – faster than either the United States or the Euro area – though the Fund last month lowered its forecast for 2024 growth to 1.1%.

The West has frozen hundreds of billions of dollars of Russian money, but Putin has joked that the sanctions have not stopped the import of Western goods such as luxury Mercedes to Russia and that Moscow will work to undermine the sanctions by buying what it wants on global markets.

The US, itself a large LNG producer that exports to Europe, is also trying to reduce Russia’s LNG shipments to Europe, which has only banned Russian gas sent via pipeline.

The Arctic-2 LNG project – targeted by the new sanctions – had been expecting to start exporting soon and it is uncertain how much Russian LNG will now be blocked.

The largest Russian LNG producer Novatek NVTK.MM said in September it would start shipments from Arctic-2 LNG early next year.

Leonid Mikhelson, the head of Russian natural gas producer Novatek, told a conference in the Uzbek city of Samarkand that the US sanctions were a badge “of our professionalism”.

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