Russia’s envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzya on Tuesday brushed aside threats of sanctions by the US and its allies concerning a Ukraine row, saying they will backfire.

“We learned to live with that,” Nebenzya told an Anadolu Agency reporter at a news conference at UN headquarters when asked if Moscow would respond to any sanctions.

“We’ve been sanctioned so many times that we lost count,” he said. “I hope they will have enough reason not to move forward with that. But that will backfire.”

His remarks came amid a row about Russia’s military activity near Ukraine’s border, which prompted the US and its Western allies to issue warnings to Moscow against any aggression against the former Soviet republic.

They repeatedly warned Russia of “severe consequences” if Ukraine is invaded.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Russia earlier Tuesday to immediately de-escalate the situation near the border.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone call to follow up on the US’ written response to Russia’s security proposals.

“The Secretary urged immediate Russian de-escalation and the withdrawal of troops and equipment from Ukraine’s borders,” said Price.

*Betul Yuruk in United Nations contributed to the story

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