Skripal sanction: US brings down iron curtain
The new United States sanctions on Russia will be a very great sweep of the Russian economy, a senior US State Department official said.
"We are applying these sanctions against essentially all state – Russian state-owned or state-funded enterprises. That’s potentially a very great sweep of the Russian economy in terms of the potentially affected end users. I would not sure the specific numbers, but it may be that something on the order of 70% of their economy and maybe 40% of their workforce falls within those enterprises," he stressed.
"It is possible that this trade it affected could reach potentially hundreds of millions of dollars, but it also depends upon what Russia – Russian entities in fact apply to purchase," the State Department official added.
The diplomat noted that overall, something upwards of 50% of Commerce Department licenses for Russia have included at least one national security controlled item. By dollar value, the top categories of items historically tend to be things like aero gas turbine engines, electric – electronic devices and components, integrated circuits, test and calibration equipment of various sorts, materials, production, equipment, and various things like that.
At the same time, the US State Department official could not answer the journalist's question of whether exports of RD-180 rocket engines to the United States, which NASA depends on for its Atlas rockets, will be stopped.
The Russian embassy in the United States has called on the US Department of State to publish correspondence on the introduction of new sanctions on Moscow over the Skripal incident.
"For our part, we reiterated our principle stands on the events in the UK, which the Embassy had been outlining in corresponding letters to the State Department. We confirmed that we continue to strongly stand for an open and transparent investigation of the crime committed in Salisbury and for bringing the culprits to justice," the statement reads.
"We suggested publishing our correspondence on this issue. No answer has followed so far," the Russian embassy added.
The British government has welcomed the move. "The strong international response to the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury sends an unequivocal message to Russia that its provocative, reckless behaviour will not go unchallenged," a UK foreign office statement said.
On March 4, Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been convicted in Russia for spying for the UK but later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury. Police said they suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent.
Later on, London claimed that the Novichok-class toxin had been developed in Russia. The UK rushed to accuse Russia of being involved failing to furnish any evidence. Moscow refuted the accusations stating that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia had ever done research on that toxic agent.
First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, a representative of the legislative body of the Jewish Autonomous Region, Vladimir Dzhabarov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Washington does not think about the consequences of such a sanction war at all. "But the consequences will be the heaviest. Now they say they want to limit the flights of Russian airlines - it will cause a mirror response and US companies will stop flying to Russia and through Russia. Many US transcontinental flights are carried out through the territory of Russia, that is, the United States, in fact, will limit themselves," the senator pointed out.
"It's clear that the elections are coming there, but in my opinion, they have crossed the line. They are threatening to cut the staff of the diplomatic missions again - ok, we will do the same. Our relations have already been practically frozen. But it does not mean that Americans are able to isolate Russia, it will never happen," Vladimir Jabarov emphasized.
As for the reason for imposing sanctions, it was chosen quite arbitrarily. "But it must be understood that Russia is not the DPRK or Iran, Russia is an absolutely self-sufficient country with which many countries want good relations, including such powerful economies as India, China and others," the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs concluded.
The director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov, in turn, explained the sanctions with the development of the US attack on Moscow. "It seems to me that this is the continuation of the war against Russia, conducted by the so-called 'deep state'. They continue this war, because Russia pursues an independent policy," he said.
"The ban on flights is the most obvious element of persecution. I think that it will lead to the fact that the US allies will also refuse to travel with Russian airlines.Unfortunately, the Russian government is not able to introduce any response measures, except for the ban on flights of American aircraft. But if other countries actually join these US sanctions, their total impact will be stronger than a possible Russian response," Sergei Markov warned.