Russia is ready to respond if the West whips up the spiral of sanctions, Valentina Matviyenko, Federation Council Speaker, upper house of Russian parliament, said on Monday, ITAR-TASS reported.
She said any sanctions were counterproductive and mutually disadvantageous and their ultimate goal was "not only to tear Ukraine away from Russia and Russia from the European Union" but also "to weaken the European Union".
"The United States is securing its geopolitical interests with the Europeans' hands for there is a fierce competition for markets, economic and financial resources," Matviyenko said.
She said sanctions were sensitive to any country. "They are sensitive to us too, but they are not dramatic", she said.
"Russia has an enormous potential and possibilities. This is the time for us to collect ourselves and see where our weak points are and where we are particularly dependent on other countries and take real steps to preserve our economy and avoid negative developments in the country," Matviyenko said.
She said sanctions would not settle the Ukrainian crisis. "If this is an attempt to put pressure on Russia, we have proved many times that this is not the way to talk to Russia. We are a self-sufficient country, we are a great country that plays a big role in world politics, economy and finance," she said. "History proves that one must not try to put Russia on its knees," she added.
Matviyenko said more and more reasonable actors were beginning to understand that there is no military solution to the conflict in Ukraine and that negotiations must be conducted, bringing Russia into the process.
"Rhetoric is changing. Some 'hawks' are trying to escalate the situation and weaken Russia in all possible ways, but it won't work. We will have to respond if we are forced to do so, but we would very much like to avoid that," Matviyenko said.