VIENNA May 27 Russia is not preparing
retaliatory steps to punish foreign companies for western
sanctions over Moscow's involvement in Ukraine, President
Vladimir Putin's top economic adviser told an Austrian
Russia was above all feeling the impact of "soft sanctions"
- recommendations to companies and banks to cancel or refuse to
finance projects in the country, Kremlin aide Andrei Belousov
told Die Presse in an interview printed on Tuesday.
"We saw nervousness not so much at Russian companies but
much more at foreign companies that are working in Russia. But I
can say openly that as of today we are not preparing
countermeasures," he was quoted as saying.
Belousov had said at the weekend that if any new measures
were to restrict Russia's foreign trade, Russia may take legal
action by appealing to the Dispute Settlement Body of the World
Asked about this by Die Presse, he said: "I am not saying it
is a measure that we will necessarily apply. I hope Europe does
not commit the stupidity of more sanctions."
Western sanctions have prompted Russian leaders to explore
closer political and economic ties with southeast Asia and
China, Belousov noted, but added: "I did not say this will
happen to the detriment of cooperation with the West."
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Hugh Lawson)