MOSCOW, May 13 (Reuters) - Moscow said on Tuesday sanctions imposed by Washington on Russian bank Tempbank over its dealings with the Syrian government were “absolutely unacceptable”.
The U.S. Treasury put the small Moscow-based lender on its list of sanctioned entities last week, in effect cutting the bank off from the U.S. financial system.
“The U.N. Security Council has adopted no resolutions banning cooperation with Damascus, which means bilateral economic and financial ties are completely legitimate,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Moscow has blocked efforts at the U.N. Security Council to mount pressure on the Syrian government, including by imposing sanctions, to end a three-year-old civil war.
Reuters reported last October that the Commercial Bank of Syria had opened accounts in Tempbank.
Tempbank also has ties with financial markets in China, Europe and the United States, using Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank as well as Russia’s biggest state-owned bank Sberbank and a foreign branch of Russia’s VTB as intermediaries, according to information on the bank’s website.
“We would like to remind the U.S. side yet again that the language of sanctions is useless and counterproductive,” the ministry said.
Washington has also imposed sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, which has caused their worst standoff since the end of the Cold War more than two decades ago. (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Timothy Heritage)