MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) – The US Department of Energy has banned American scientists working for the agency from traveling to Russia as well as blocking access for Russian scientists to its major physics research centers, the Russian Kommersant newspaper reported Friday.
“The visits by Russian citizens to Energy Department facilities, including the Brookhaven National Laboratory, have been postponed indefinitely,” the newspaper reported, citing a letter sent out April 7 to scientists collaborating with Brookhaven National Laboratory.
The quoted letter states that exceptions will be made only if the trip pertains to nuclear security, weapons of mass destruction or is in the national interest of the US.
The letter also states the sanctions will not affect those Russians who have already arrived in the laboratory or “are on their way to the United States upon receipt of this message,” Kommersant reported. According to the newspaper, similar letters were sent out to the rest of the agency’s research centers.
The Russian Ministry of Education told the newspaper no official information from the US has been received yet, and said that any sanctions would “have a negative impact on research groups in the US and joint projects between the two countries could be jeopardized."
“We are surprised by such initiatives and cannot yet comment on the sanctions applied to us unilaterally,” the press service of the Russian Education Ministry told Kommersant.
Earlier this year, the US and the EU imposed a number of targeted sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, on several Russian officials over the reunification of Crimea with Russia. Leaders of the G7 countries have threatened broad economic sanctions against Russia in case of further escalation of the situation around Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that the threat of sanctions against Russia is both inappropriate and counterproductive.