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Moscow is riled up about additional American sanctions being levied against the Russian Federation due to the Skripal chemical poisonings in the United Kingdom; the Kremlin is especially concerned about measures targeting Russian finances and its banks. Earlier in the year, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev declared that these type of penalties, if implemented, would amount to ‘economic war’.
The United States’ sanctions on Russia over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the British city of Salisbury came into effect on August 27. The US Department of State argues that Russia is in breach of the 1991 Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
“We intend to proceed in accordance with the terms of the CBW Act, which directs the implementation of additional sanctions,” said US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert. “The Department is consulting with Congress regarding next steps as required 90 days after the initial determination on August 6, 2018,” Nauert went on.
She did not specify the sanctions under consideration, but under the legislation the president is obliged to impose three sets of sanctions from a menu of six, which includes restrictions on development assistance, bank loans, general non-food imports and exports, downgrading diplomatic relations and suspending landing rights for the national airline, Aeroflot. At the time the preliminary sanctions were imposed, a senior administration official said the second round would be “more draconian than the first round”, reported the South China Morning Post.
“I would not like to comment on talks about future sanctions, but I can say one thing: If some ban on banks’ operations or on their use of one or another currency follows, it would be possible to clearly call it a declaration of economic war,” said Medvedev in August.
“We will challenge the US authorities’ actions (in case of sanctions against Russia’s state debt – TASS), attack to the extent possible. We have platforms suitable for that, first of all, the G20 platform, the Financial Stability Council platform,” declared Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
“So far there is no information as to whether the US Treasury has changed the position announced at the end of February. The behavior of investors dealing with the Russian debt is more proactive rather than based on an unbiased assessment of the US authorities’ actions. They seek to pre-empt withdrawing their assets from OFZ,” Storchak explained.