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BRASILIA, July 16 (Reuters) - Rosneft Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin said on Wednesday that U.S. sanctions on the Russian state-controlled energy company are illegal because it has no role in the crisis in Ukraine.
Sechin told reporters that the sanctions will damage shareholders of U.S. companies and banks cooperating with Rosneft. He said the sanctions do not affect current projects with Exxon Mobil Corp.
Due to what it views as Russia's interference in its neighbor Ukraine, the U.S. government on Wednesday imposed its most wide-ranging sanctions yet on the Russian economy, including Gazprombank and the Rosneft Oil Co , and other major banks and energy and defense companies. (Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)