5 Mar 2018 18:01

U.S. sanctions aimed at destabilizing situation in Russia - Ryabkov

MOSCOW. March 5 (Interfax) - The sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States' last administration remain effective and are aimed at destabilizing the situation in Russia, Sergei Ryabkov, a Russian deputy foreign minister, said on Monday.

"No matter how the authors and executors of this legislation might be trying to disguise the developments with verbiage, its goal, in reality, is not just to interfere in our internal affairs, but actually to bring about grave destabilization of the situation in the country, for which, as is said officially, particularly in the explanatory notes to this legislation and in other documents, the Americans are directly using relevant nongovernmental nonprofit organizations," Ryabkov said at a session of the Federation Council ad hoc commission for protecting Russia's sovereignty and preventing interference in its internal affairs, which presented its annual report on Monday.

"As much as $20 million of state funds has been earmarked annually for these purposes in 2016-2018 - and this is only the official information stated publicly," he said.

"It's clear that the costs of the relevant work are much greater. They are just budgeted in other items, including closed ones," he said.

The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 signed by former U.S. President Barack Obama in December 2014, which is still in effect, "openly called for interference in our internal affairs and set up a formal legal basis for this," he said.

"It instructs the U.S. secretary of state to facilitate the achievement of Washington's relevant goals on the Russian track directly and through non-governmental and international organizations," he said.

"Nobody has abrogated this legislation, and the administration will act in keeping with its provisions," Ryabkov said.

Along with other federal executive bodies, the Foreign Ministry "will continue the relevant work in this key area to ensure our country's sovereignty and foreign policy interests," he said.