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Russia will respond to Japanese sanctions

Moscow will certainly respond to Japanese sanctions against Russian citizens, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

"The decision of Tokyo to impose visa sanctions against a number of Russian citizens was received in Moscow with disappointment and, of course, will not go unanswered. This awkward step was clearly taken under external pressure and runs counter to Tokyo's statements about the importance of developing the entire range of relations with Russia," - says his answer to a media question circulated today.

Lukashevich stressed that it is counterproductive to speak with Russia in the language of sanctions. "Japan's participation in attempts to put pressure on Russia in no way contributes to de-escalation of tension in Ukraine," the diplomat said.

Earlier it became known that the Japanese government announced a ban on issuing 23 visas to Russian officials in connection with the situation in Ukraine. The names of the officials are not reported.

In March, Japan suspended negotiations with the Russian Federation on easing the visa regime and began negotiations on two other agreements, which became the softest of the sanctions adopted by the G7 countries. Earlier, the European Council, on behalf of the EU, decided to expand by 15 names the list of Russians falling under the second stage of EU sanctions - an asset freeze and a visa ban. Now there are 48 people on the EU sanctions list. The EU will not yet move on to the third stage of sanctions against the Russian Federation, which includes economic restrictions; it can be implemented in case of further escalation of the situation in Ukraine. Earlier, the United States announced the expansion of the sanctions list - it includes seven Russian officials and 17 Russian companies.

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