2018-08-09 20:16:05 UTC
All that "collusion" really hasn't paid off for Russia, which has once again
been slapped with more sanctions by the Trump administration, this time for
trying to poison a former spy and his daughter. If Russia doesn't satisfy
certain demands over the next few months, even more crippling sanctions will
go into effect.
The Trump administration has imposed the sanctions in response to the March
2018 poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. that the
administration blames on the Russian government. On Wednesday, the State
Department told Congress that an initial tranche of sanctions will be
imposed under a 1991 chemical and biological weapons act.
"Following the use of a 'Novichok' nerve agent in an attempt to assassinate
UK citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal, the United States,
on August 6, 2018, determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons
Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the Government of
the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation
of international law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons
against its own nationals," a State Department spokesperson said in a
statement Wednesday. "Following a 15-day Congressional notification period,
these sanctions will take effect upon publication of a notice in the Federal
Register, expected on or around August 22, 2018."
A second, even more financially damaging round of sanctions will be imposed
in 90 days if Russia fails to take certain steps. CNN reports (formatting
The first set of sanctions targets certain items the US exports to Russia
that could have military uses -- so-called dual use technologies. These are
sensitive goods that normally would go through a case-by-case review before
they are exported. With these sanctions, the exports will be presumptively
denied. A senior State Department official said there would be carve-outs
The US would then require Russia to assure over the next 90 days that it
is no longer using chemical or biological weapons and will not do so in the
future. Additionally, the criteria in the law call for Russia to allow
on-site inspectors to ensure compliance. The official said that if Russia
did not meet the demands, the US "will have to consider whether to impose a
second tranche of sanctions as specified by the statute."
CNN cites a senior State Department official who said the initial sanctions
could impact "potentially a very great sweep of the Russian economy," noting
that the Russian firms affected make up some 70% of the Russian economy and
employ 40% of its workforce. The second round of sanctions could impact
flights by Aeroflot and downgrade diplomatic relations, a former Defense
Department official explained.
While the U.K. has cheered the Trump administration's actions against
Russia, Russia isn't so enthused. In a tweet Wednesday, a Russian U.N.
representative issued a snarky response to the Trump administration.
"The theater of absurd continues," tweeted Dmitry Polyanskiy. "No proofs, no
clues, no logic, no presumption of innocense, just highly-liklies. Only one
rule: blame everything on Russia, no matter how absurd and fake it is. Let
us welcome the United Sanctions of America!"Trump has repeatedly described his administration as being harder on Russia
than any recent administrations, and the numbers are adding up. The new
sanctions follow the Trump administration expelling over 60 Russian
diplomats for the attack on the former Russian agent. Last August, Trump
signed off, though with reluctance, on another round of significant
sanctions which Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described as a
"fully-fledged trade war" against Russia, and slammed the Trump
administration as having "demonstrated complete impotence, in the most
humiliating manner, transferring executive powers to Congress." Apparently
"collusion" doesn't pay.