US' list of Russians eligible for sanctions is an unfriendly act: Putin

File: President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday the release of a US list of Russian business leaders eligible for sanctions was an unfriendly act. Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko / POOL / AFP

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday the release of a US list of Russian businessmen close to the Kremlin was an unfriendly act, but Moscow did not currently plan to retaliate.

The US Treasury Department named major Russian businessmen in a so-called "oligarchs' list" which was released earlier on Tuesday.

The list, drawn up as part of a sanctions package signed into law in August last year, does not mean those included will be subject to sanctions, but it casts a potential shadow of sanctions risk over a wide circle of wealthy Russians.

READ: US releases list of Russians eligible for sanctions

"It is, of course, an unfriendly act. It will complicate the difficult situation Russian-American relations are already in, and of course harm international relations as a whole," Putin said.

Speaking at meeting with election campaign officials in Moscow, Putin said it was "stupid" to treat Russian in the same way as North Korea and Iran, while also asking Moscow to help broker a peace deal on the Korean peninsula.

But the Russian leader said he still wanted to improve ties with the United States and would refrain from any immediate retaliation.

READ: CIA chief: Russians will meddle in coming US election

"We were waiting for this list, and I will not hide it, were ready to take retaliatory steps, serious ones, which would have reduced our relations to zero," Putin said.

"For now, we will refrain from these steps. But we will carefully watch how the situation develops." 

Reuters

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