Trump imposes second set of Salisbury sanctions

Trump imposes second set of Salisbury sanctions

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an order to impose the second package of sanctions against Russia under the 2018 case of using of the nerve agent, Novichok, in Salisbury (the United Kingdom), Politico reported quoting two U.S. officials.

The executive order signed by Trump was published at Public Pool, which is an automated feed of White House press pool reports. According to the order, the sanctions include opposing "the extension of any loan or financial or technical assistance to that country by international financial institutions."

They would also "prohibit any United States bank from making any loan or providing any credit to the government of that country, except for loans or credits for the purpose of purchasing food or other agricultural commodities or products," the Financial Time reported.

The Trump administration unveiled a first set of sanctions in August 2018. Under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act, there is a requirement to impose more sanctions within 90 days if the administration could not certify that Russia was no longer using chemical weapons and if the Kremlin did not guarantee that it would not use such weapons again.

Earlier, the top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee called on  Trump to impose congressionally mandated sanctions on Russia over the Skripal case. "We urge you to take immediate action to hold Russia fully accountable for its blatant use of a chemical weapon in Europe," Reps. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat, and Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, wrote in the letter on July 25, 2019. 

First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Vladimir Dzhabarov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Donald Trump does Congress a favour by taking this step, as the second set of sanctions was regulated by earlier adopted legislation.

"He imposed minimum sanctions in order not to heighten tensions with Russia. Moreover, there has already been some progress in the personal relations of the two presidents," the senator said.

"In regard to the possible danger posed by the new sanctions, then I recall the 2014-2015 years, when the first sanctions were introduced, and we evaluated them with interest. And now, we have learned how to live under sanctions. It turned out that such a great country as Russia could well manage on its own, and everyone sees it," he stressed.

"The most interesting thing is that the Europeans have ceased to strictly follow the lead of the Americans. They no longer repeat the sanctions after Washington," the First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs urged.

"In fact, Trump had to take such a step so that Congress would not find fault with him for refusing to comply with this law. Therefore, formally, he gave grounds for imposing new sanctions, but the whole situation is still unclear," Vladimir Dzhabarov concluded.

Director of the Institute of Strategic Planning and Forecasting, Professor Alexander Gusev, in turn, compared the second set of sanctions with a stone thrown into a departed ship. The United States eventually came to the conclusion that Skripal sanctions are necessary, that they can affect Russia. The EU and the UK imposed sanctions almost immediately after the poisoning of the former GRU officer and his daughter Julia, but the United States did it only now. First, it means that the Americans are in solidarity with the British, that Russia is to blame for the Salisbury incident. Second, the United States continues to operate within the framework of the foreign policy trend outlined by Trump, believing that Russia is to blame for everything," he explained.

"Economic sanctions have practically no effect on us, because over the last five years we have learned to resist them. In political terms, any sanctions is a bad thing. They affect not only the countries with respect to which they are introduced, but also those countries that introduce them," the expert emphasized.

"The Russia-U.S. trade turnover does not exceed $33 billion, it is not significant. But in political terms, it affects the people's minds," the director of the Institute of Strategic Planning and Forecasting warned.

"The European Union prolonged all the sanctions, including Skripale, Crimea, and Donbass, until January 31, 2020. For our part, we also introduce restrictions in response to the actions of our opponents. But in economic terms, we have already learned to survive in these conditions," Alexander Gusev summed up.