On August 2, US President Donald Trump signed off on the second round of sanctions against Russia over what described as the poisoning of Skripal in the United Kingdom in 2018 under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act (CBW). The United States claims that Russia is not in compliance with the legislation, but Russia denies the claim.
The first round of US sanctions, introduced under the 1991 CBW Act, went into effect on August 27, 2018.
Under the first package, the United States halted providing assistance to Russia in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, except for "urgent humanitarian aid, food or other agricultural products."
Moreover, the US State Department terminated arms sales to Russia under the Arms Export Control Act, excluding exports needed for cooperation in space, commercial space launches and items needed for ensuring the safety of civil aircraft flights.
Washington also denied any credits, credit guarantees and financial assistance to Russia.
Details of Second Package
According to a notice by the State Department, the latest round of sanctions prohibits US banks from making any loan or providing any credit to the government of Russia unless for the purpose of purchasing food or other agricultural goods. Washington also pledges to oppose the granting or extending of loans to Moscow from international financial organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The document also said that the new sanctions would ban exports of dual-use products to Russia, which, according to Washington, could be used by Moscow to develop chemical and biological weapons.
At the same time, the United States did not downgrade diplomatic relations with Russia and refrained from banning the flights of state-owned airlines. Washington also decided to not reject any imports from Russia, including oil and oil products.
Moscow 'is Not Surprised'
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said that Moscow was not surprised by Washington's move as the Trump administration made the sanctions and other restrictive measures part of their policy in relation to Russia. The deputy minister added, however, that Moscow regretted that the United States sacrificed relations with Russia by imposing the second package of sanctions.
"I think this is part of [US] domestic political circumstances. Sadly, the remnants of what used to be called the Russian-American partnership are now being sacrificed because of the demands of those who simply use relations with Russia as an instrument of internal political struggle," Ryabkov said in an interview with RT television.
Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said that, in the wake of the limited availability of external sources of financing due to the US sanctions, Moscow had already re-oriented itself toward using domestic sources.
"We mostly orient toward using domestic sources of financing. The availability of foreign sources has decreased dramatically compared to the situation that was in place five years ago. Yes, foreign sanctions restrict the availability of these finances, but we are much more oriented toward domestic sources," Oreshkin told reporters.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, in turn, said that Moscow had a strategy for countering the sanctions against its state-owned banks and public debt.
In March 2018, Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near a shopping center in Salisbury, England. The UK government said the Skripals had been subject to poisoning with a military-grade nerve agent and accused Russia of staging the attack.
Russia has denied the accusations, saying the UK government has not provided any evidence of Moscow’s alleged role in the poisoning. Russia has said it sent more than 70 diplomatic notes to the United Kingdom calling for a joint inquiry as required by international law, but London has not cooperated in any way.