Tuesday, 21 May, 2019

Trump administration declines to impose latest round of Russian Federation sanctions

Credit AP  PAVEL GOLOVKIN				Police in Moscow stand guard Sunday outside the office of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny Credit AP PAVEL GOLOVKIN Police in Moscow stand guard Sunday outside the office of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny
Patty Aguilar | 30 January, 2018, 06:21

"By deterring countries from acquiring Russian military and intelligence equipment we are denying Russia the proceeds from those sales, which it would use to continue its worldwide campaign of malign influence and destabilization", he said.

"Today, we have informed Congress that this legislation and its implementation are deterring Russian defence sales", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

None of them, it turned out, as the State Department has determined that the mere threat of U.S. action or secondary sanctions had deterred such transactions.

The law also limits Trump's ability to lift prior sanctions or return diplomatic compounds seized from Russian Federation under the Obama administration.

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one of the main congressional architects of the sanctions law, said he was not concerned that the administration did not announce sanctions or release all of the required reports on Monday.

"From that perspective, if the law is working, sanctions on specific entities or individuals will not need to be imposed because the legislation is, in fact, serving as a deterrent".

The administration missed its first deadline on October 1 to issue guidance on which Russian entities in the military and intelligence sectors should be subject to sanctions.

The announcement came on a day when the ongoing FBI investigation into President Donald Trump's potential campaign ties to Moscow during the 2016 election once again dominated the news, and once again raised questions about policy decisions his administration is making on Russian Federation.

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But citing long time frames associated with major defence deals, Nauert said it was too soon to tell how effective the law had been, so it was better to wait to impose those sanctions.

"This is when sanctions season begins, and so they'll be rolling them out", he told reporters.

The Trump administration has indicated it will not seek new sanctions against Russian Federation for its meddling in the 2016 USA election, a State Department spokesperson said on Monday.

The act passed with broad bipartisan support, clearing the Senate by 98-2, though Trump signed it into law reluctantly, declaring it "seriously flawed". He has also described the Russian Federation probe as a "cloud" over his presidency. "Generally speaking, should sanctions be imposed, they would primarily be on non-Russian entities" involved in "significant transactions" with Russia's already black-listened defense and intelligence sectors.

"I appreciate the administration's engagement with Congress on this issue", said Cardin, an author of the measure.

"When and if we have sanctions to announce, we will do so".

United States lawmakers had been anxious that, in his eagerness to mend ties with Putin, Trump might not take tough action to punish Moscow and Russian officials for interfering in USA elections and destabilising Ukraine.

Ahead of the State Department announcement, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call that Russian Federation regarded new sanctions as an unfriendly attempt to sway the March presidential election.

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