First batch of U.S. Skripal sanctions against Russia comes into force

First batch of U.S. Skripal sanctions against Russia comes into force

The new U.S sanctions against Russia related to alleged Moscow's involvement in former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal's poisoning came into force today.

Washington announced its new anti-Russian sanctions over Moscow's alleged use of chemical weapons in Salisbury on August 8. US State Department spokesperson said earlier that the new package of sanctions against Russia was due to come into effect on Monday August 27 Washington DC time following the official publication in the Federal Register.

The US government announced two rounds of sanctions on August 8.

The new restrictions include a total ban on the supply of electronic devices and other dual-use products to Russia. More tough measures may be taken in November. The US authorities said however that Russia may escape the harsher sanctions if it provides credible guarantees not to use chemical and biological weapons and allows the United Nations and other international organizations to carry out inspections on the country’s soil.

Earlier this month, a senior State Department official said that the US authorities intend to make exceptions to the new sanctions on Russia imposed over the Skripal incident.

According to him, "there are a number of carve-outs that we are making under the sanctions that are required by the act. Not everything that is mandatory under the act we will be proceeding with at this time."

"We will have a waiver for the provision of foreign assistance to Russia and to the Russian people," the official noted.

"We are also waiving sanctions with respect to space flight activities, because of course there are space flight actions in which we are engaged with the Russian Federation upon which we depend in some regards. Those will be free to continue on a case-by-case licensing basis," the State Department official went on to say. "And we are also having a carve-out for safety of commercial passenger aviation because some of these national security sensitive goods in question are ones that perhaps might be important for safety of flight issues, so we are allowing ourselves the ability to continue on a case-by-case basis with those items. And there are a couple of more things like purely commercial end users for civilian end uses will be on a case-by-case basis," he added.

Former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious in Salisbury, UK on March 4. London was quick to accuse Russia of orchestrating the poisoning of the Skripals with a nerve agent. Russian government has repeatedly denied involvement in the Skripals case, pointing at the complete lack of evidence provided by London as well as no cooperation with Moscow in investigating the incident.

However, the State Department claimed that after Washington concluded that Russia’s alleged involvement in the Skripal attack represented a breach of international statutes, it would impose the new wave of sanctions.

"These measures shall be implemented by the responsible departments and agencies of the United States Government and will remain in place for at least one year and until further notice," according to the note signed by Christopher A. Ford, assistant secretary at the State Department's Bureau Of International Security And Nonproliferation.

Professor of the RANEPA faculty of Finance, Money Circulation and Credit, Yuri Yudenkov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, said that the banking sector and new information technologies would suffer the sanctions' worst effects.

"The Americans are banning us from their dual-purpose electronic devices and components, which can be used in the military sphere. And since all electronic devices can be used in the military sphere, in fact it will include all information technologies," the expert explained.

At the same time, he noted that, being under the sanctions pressure, Russia in will have to reorient to the Asian market.

"We produce 20 times less microcircuitry than Malaysia. We will have to look for new sources somewhere in Southeast Asia and the East," Professor Yudenkov said.

The vice-rector of the Academy of Labour and Social Relations Alexander Safonov noted that now the U.S. only extends the old sanctions aimed at limiting the supply of technologies related to the military-industrial complex. "Today's sanctions relate to a wider range of dual-purpose goods, mostly related to modern navigation systems, bionics and calculations. Of course, it will complicate the process of applying modern technologies, but it will mostly affect the military-industrial complex, which will have to search for detours, using intelligence assistance or gaining access to dual-purpose technologies, purchasing it from third countries - or developing Russian counterparts," he said.

"The new sanctions will have no special effect on the Russian economy. The problem of GDP growth is connected with completely different problems. First of all, with a low level of domestic consumption of citizens. The export of Russian weapons now amounts to about 17 billion rubles, and the main share comes from civil-use products. In addition, our main commodity turnover of civilian products is contacted with Japan, South Korea, China, Europe, but not the United States," Alexander Safonov concluded.

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