Russia calls on West to lift sanctions

Russia has asked the West to ease economic sanctions against Moscow and said it will seek to have its own currency banned if the sanctions are lifted, the government said on Tuesday.

In a call with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Russian government called on the European Union, the United States, Canada and others to lift economic sanctions imposed by Russia over its annexation of Crimea and its role in supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The call comes amid a diplomatic standoff between Moscow and the West, which accused Moscow of illegally annexing Crimea and of supporting separatists who have been fighting for greater autonomy in eastern and central Ukraine.

A series of sanctions targeting Russia over the Ukraine crisis have been lifted, but Moscow says it will continue to enforce the economic restrictions and impose more on top of its existing ones to punish Western countries that it says support separatists in the east.

The Russian government has also raised objections over the West’s refusal to back its own economic sanctions and the lack of reciprocity from Russia’s Western allies.