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Published: Thursday May 1, 2014 MYT 3:25:02 AM
Updated: Thursday May 1, 2014 MYT 3:26:09 AM

Russia says not retaliating against Western sanctions for now

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Russia will not immediately take any retaliatory measures in response to Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis but could reassess that stance in the future, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

"We are not going to act, to do stupid things ... we want to give our partners the possibility of calming down," Lavrov said at a news conference during a visit to Chile.

He said, however, Moscow could change its position depending on whether sanctions are prolonged or deepened.

"If their actions continue and they turn to economic measures, in that case we would further study the situation," he said in translated comments.

The United States and the European Union imposed new sanctions against Russia this week for its involvement in Ukraine and threatened tougher economic measures if Moscow does not de-escalate the crisis. [ID:nL6N0NK3YM]

Lavrov is on a long-scheduled trip to Latin America this week. He criticized the sanctions while in Cuba on Tuesday, saying they "defy all common sense."

"We never act under pressure from anybody. We always act on national interests, international law and the full situation," Lavrov added on Wednesday. "What we're going to do is continue to call for observance of the Geneva declaration, which, frankly, our partners are trying to escape from."

Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the EU earlier this month reached an agreement in Geneva aimed at defusing the crisis.

Lavrov also called for the release of six military observers seized last week by separatists in eastern Ukraine.

"We want to make a call for the liberation of these European officials, who are probably scapegoats," Lavrov said.

(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Kieran Murray, Meredith Mazzilli and Steve Orlofsky)

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