Russia has lashed out at the United States over new sanctions announced by Washington at the end of last week, calling the measures "unacceptable" and illegal and saying it reserves the right to retaliate.
In remarks on April 9, senior officials in President Vladimir Putin's government also said they were assessing the damage to Russian companies and promised state support for big Russian firms targeted by the punitive measures.
They spoke as the ruble and Russian stock indexes fell, with companies included on the U.S. sanctions list -- such as tycoon Oleg Deripaska's aluminum giant Rusal -- taking substantial hits.
Forbes magazine estimated that in total, the stocks and other investments of Russia's 50 richest people lost $12 billion in value in one day after the sanctions were imposed.
On April 6, the United States imposed asset freezes and financial restrictions on a slew of Russian security officials, politicians, and tycoons believed to have close ties to Putin -- part of an attempt to punish Moscow for what the U.S. Treasury Department called "malign activity around the globe."
The new sanctions were "glaring in their illegality," said Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, adding that Russian authorities were analyzing the potential effects on the economy. He refrained from quantifying the potential losses when asked, saying that "we are seeing the first effects" of the sanctions.