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U.S. sanctions on Russia over Skripal case take effect on Monday

Staff Writer |
The U.S. anti-Russian sanctions over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the March poisoning of the Skripal family in the U.K. came into force on Monday.

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“The Department of State... has determined pursuant to Section 306(a) of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 that the Government of the Russian Federation has used chemical weapons in violation of international law or lethal chemical weapons against its own nationals,” according to a document released on the U.S. Federal Register’s website on Monday.

The new sanctions encompass termination of assistance to Russia under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, except for urgent humanitarian assistance and food or other agricultural commodities or products.

The sanctions also imply termination of sales to Russia under the Arms Export Control Act of any defense articles, defense services, or design and construction services, and licenses for the export to Russia of any item on the United States Munitions List.

“The Department of State has determined that it is essential to the national security interests of the United States to waive the application of this sanction with respect to the issuance of licenses in support of government space cooperation and commercial space launches, provided that such licenses shall be issued on a case-by-case basis and consistent with export licensing policy for Russia prior to the enactment of these sanctions.”

In addition, the newly-imposed sanctions encompass a denial to Russia of any credit, credit guarantees, or other financial assistance by any department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. government, including the Export-Import Bank of the U.S.

Moscow has repeatedly and categorically denied involvement in the poisoning of the Skripal family, saying that the U.K. hadn’t provided enough proof of that.

A second package of sanctions that can affect lending to Russian corporate bodies could be introduced in November.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Europe should react to the U.S. sanctions policy towards Russia, China, Turkey and other important economic partners.

“Washington forces us to formulate European responses in connection with the sanctions policy. This refers to Europe and Germany, if the U.S. suddenly uncoordinatedly and quite non-specifically introduces sanctions against Russia, China, Turkey, and in the future possibly against other important trade partners. We should react to it,” Maas said.

Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov told PRIME that Russia is actively engaged in import substitution regardless of the sanctions which already exist or will be introduced and successfully buys high-technology products on the open market.

“This is not a response to the current sanctions, this is a systemic work that did not depend on those restrictions which are either already introduced or will be imposed. The same concerns technical equipment, machines that were delivered to us directly, and these restrictions remain from the Soviet time. We were finding the possibility of purchasing what we need,” the minister said.

“As far as radio electronics is concerned, in terms of deliveries of products of the space, military categories we’ve been under restrictions for many years already, if not to say for decades. We buy those products, which cannot be replaced instantly, on the open market,” he said.

“As for microelectronics with a size of 28 nanometers or less, today we order these products from large factories in Southeast Asia, where there are no such restrictions as we have from the U.S. And if we speak about the standard size that we produce today, up to 65 nanometers, then we have already replaced over 2,500 part types over the past few years,” he said.

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