Russia said on Friday it would respond quickly with retaliatory measures to the latest round of U.S. sanctions that it criticized as another “hostile step”, pledging to support affected companies with state funds. The European Union and the United States have tightened economic penalties on Moscow, accusing it of sending troops to back pro-Moscow separatists fighting Ukrainian government forces in eastern regions. “Of course our retaliatory measures will not keep you waiting,” the Foreign Ministry said in an online statement. “We see Washington’s introduction of new anti-Russian sanctions as another hostile step in line with the confrontational course taken by the American administration.” The ministry said the sanctions were short-sighted and would have no effect on government policy. Earlier on Friday President Vladimir Putin, who has regularly denied any involvement in Ukraine and already responded with import bans and other steps, said any retaliatory measures would be taken carefully to avoid damaging the Russian economy. Full Story