MOSCOW, March 13 (Xinhua) -- The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday condemned new U.S. sanctions applied against a Russian-Venezuelan bank and is threatening to punish Russia's oil giant Rosneft for cooperating with Venezuela.
"We urge the United States to think again and, instead of imposing bans on foreign companies and banks, to finally shift to normal joint work under the aegis of the UN (United Nations) to help stabilize the situation in Venezuela based on the principles of international law," the ministry said in a statement.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Monday imposed sanctions on Evrofinance Mosnarbank, a Moscow-based bank jointly owned by Russian and Venezuelan state-owned companies, for "attempting to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Venezuela."
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that sanctions imposed outside the framework of the UN Security Council could not be considered legitimate.
It said that the sanctions deprived the bank from providing the Venezuelan government with an "opportunity to work normally with foreign partners."
By banning dollar operations of the bank, Washington is also undermining trust in the U.S. currency as an international payment tool and is "increasingly convincing the world community of the unreliability of the dollar and forcing to abandon its use," it added.
The ministry also qualified threats by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against Rosneft as senseless.
It recalled that Rosneft was under U.S. sanctions since 2014 but continued to work successfully, while former U.S. partners of Rosneft that were forced by Washington to curtail cooperation with it have sustained a lot of losses.
On Monday, Pompeo accused Rosneft of continuing to purchase oil from Venezuela's state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) in defiance of U.S. sanctions.