Moscow has responded hard-nosed to the new sanctions against some heavyweights of the Russian state apparatus that the EU and the US announced on March 2 for the poisoning and imprisonment of Putin's number one rival, Alexey Navalny.
They are "absolutely unacceptable" and can have "a deleterious effect on bilateral relations", the Kremlin warned.
"Our reaction will be based on the principle of reciprocity but will not necessarily be symmetrical", warned in turn the spokeswoman of the Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, urging the West to "not play with fire".
However, Russia has at the same time minimized the real effects of these measures on sanctioned state leaders: "In fact - said Putin's spokesman, Peskov - they repeat the restrictions imposed on these people" already "by Russian law" because, for the their roles, these officials "do not travel cross-border" and "cannot open bank accounts or own property abroad".
In short, according to the Kremlin, little changes for the four top executives who have ended up in the sights of Brussels and for the seven sanctioned by Washington, among which Alexandr Bortnikov, the stainless head of the Russian secret services suspected of the Navalny poisoning, stands out.
Different speech for the 14 companies that deal with the production of chemicals that the US has included in their black list.
Navalny sent his first message from the prison 150 kilometers from Moscow where he was recently transferred, probably waiting to be moved to another nearby detention center.
He announced he was "fine" and did so with his usual sarcasm.
"I'm fine, there's even a push-up bar here in the yard," he wrote on Instagram.