Russian upper house speaker calls U.S. sanctions "political blackmail"

by Reuters
Monday, 17 March 2014 17:06 GMT

MOSCOW, March 17 (Reuters) - The speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament on Monday denounced as "political blackmail" U.S. sanctions imposed by the White House on her and 10 other Russian and Ukrainian officials over Moscow's takeover of Crimea.

"This is an unprecedented decision. Such a thing was unheard of even during the Cold War," Valentina Matviyenko, 64, Russia's leading female politician and its third highest-ranking figure, told the Interfax news agency.

"This is political blackmail," Matviyenko said, adding that the sanctions would not hurt her as she said she held "no accounts and no property abroad."

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