Russia's Top Tech CEO Calls Strict US Sanctions on Country 'War'

Sergey Chemezov, the head of Rostec, a state-owned technology and manufacturing corporation, said he considered American's tough sanctions a trade "war" that he believed will have a greater impact on Europe than the United States.

President Joe Biden implemented sanctions on Russia in April for interfering in the election, with Russia responding with the expulsion of diplomats. While Biden later faced criticism for waiving sanctions against the Russian company overseeing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Russia has pointed to new sanctions on other entities as being detrimental to the relationship.

Chemezov told RBC, a Russian news channel, on Wednesday that he felt America has done "everything possible to make life difficult" and dismissed the notion that the current sanctions could be called "soft."

"Very tough sanctions are, in fact, a war," Chemezov said. "And we, naturally, must be ready for this. But I think that the Americans and Europeans are not ready for this war."

Aside from some "isolated moments" in trading with the United States, Chemezov said Russia has "no dependence" on the U.S. because of the small volume of trade between the two countries. Europeans, however, have an economy that's more closely tied to Russia's, and Chemezov said there is a "great mutual interest."

russia sanctions united states war
Russian Rostec State Corporation Chief Sergei Chemezov called America's "tough sanctions" a "war" that would hurt the European Union more than the United States. Chemezov is seen during the meeting with high ranged officers and officials on military development at his Black Sea resorts's residence on December 2, 2019, in Sochi, Russia. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Since 2014, the European Union has imposed different types of sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine. In March, the E.U. also imposed sanctions on Russian officials over the poisoning and jailing of Alexei Navalny, the opposition leader, and persecution of gay and lesbian people in Chechnya.

Russia responded by banning European Parliament President David Sassoli and European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová, two top E.U. officials, from entering the country.

When asked if worsening relations with European countries will continue, Chemezov said he believed "common sense" will "prevail someday." However, he said his instinct told him that the current situation will last for a "long time" because the "influence of the Americans on the Europeans is still quite strong."

"Americans will continue to do this to keep us on our toes. Do not give an opportunity to develop and expand the circle of our partners. Therefore, they will do everything to keep the European countries in their orbit," Chemezov said.

The United States has prohibited the export of defense products and services to Russia. While it won't have much of an impact on military products, according to Chemezov, because Russia produces "almost everything ourselves," it could affect dual-use products, such as the building of the MS-21, a civil aircraft, because the import of composite materials for the wing were banned.

Chemezov called it a "sly position" that's intended to "hinder the development of Russia because it made producing the MS-21 more difficult.

The relationship between Russia and the United States has been deteriorating and while both countries see a path forward, they acknowledge it's not an easy task given what's transpired. Biden and President Vladimir Putin are expected to meet this month for their first face-to-face conversation, although it's unclear how deep into the strained relationship the leaders will go.