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    Trump Likely to 'Use Sanctions as an Ace Up His Sleeve' in Talks With Russia

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    US President-elect Donald Trump is not expeted to completely remove anti-Russian sanctions. The new presidential administration will need them as leverage on Moscow.

    On Friday, outgoing United States President Barack Obama extended for one year sanctions against Russia, which were imposed in 2014 after the Crimean referendum and the beginning of the Eastern Ukrainian conflict.

    "[The] actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation, including its purported annexation of Crimea and its use of force in Ukraine, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States," Obama said in a press release.

    "Therefore, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13660 with respect to Ukraine," he added.

    Most sanctions are authorized with executive orders issued pursuant to presidential national emergency powers in response to a declared emergency.

    Earlier this week, a group of US senators proposed to expand anti-Russian sanctions beyond Ukraine and Crimea to Russia’s alleged attempts to influence the outcome of the US presidential election. The proposed restrictions were aimed at the energy sector as well as individuals involved in the Russian defense and intelligence sector.

    In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, US President-elect Donald Trump commented on restrictions against Russia.

    He said he would keep intact sanctions against Moscow "at least for a period of time," but stressed that normalization with Russia was very important.

    "If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?" Trump told the newspaper.

    Commenting on Trump’s words, Russian political analyst Sergei Mikheev suggested that Washington will not remove sanctions completely.

    "Global politics never saw such precedents. When Trumps assumes power it is likely that the US will cooperate [with Russia] on Syria and will gradually ease the current sanctions. But the complete removal is unlikely. The Americans need leverage on Russia, and Trump will use them for his negotiations with the Kremlin," Mikheev told the Russian online newspaper Vzglyad.

    At the same time, according to the analyst, the removal of sanctions would not be useful for Russia because Washington is likely to demand concessions from Moscow.

    The issue of sanctions "should be taken off the table" during talks between Moscow and Washington, said President of the National Strategy Institute Mikhail Remizov.

    "The increased attention to sanctions solidifies the mistaken format of relations between the two countries. Within this model, Washington deliberately creates threats to its partner, Moscow," he said.

    Remizov also suggested that Trump is likely to use sanctions as a "ace up his sleeve" in talks with the Kremlin.

    In 2014, the US alongside the European Union and some of their allies imposed a series of economic sanctions targeting key Russian sectors as well as a number of individuals and entities.

    Washington and Brussels accused Moscow of fuelling the conflict in southeastern Ukraine and called Crimea's incorporation into Russia as a breach of international law.

    Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations of interference in Ukraine’s affairs, and has pointed out that Crimea held a popular referendum in which the vast majority of residents voted to rejoin Russia.

    Related:

    Obama Extends Anti-Russian Sanctions
    Tillerson: US Should Use Sanctions, Aid as Foreign Policy ‘Instruments'
    New Anti-Russian Sanctions 'Attempt to Delegitimize Trump's Presidency'
    Trump: Expect No Immediate Lifting of Anti-Russia Sanctions
    Tags:
    talks, tensions, sanctions, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Russia, United States
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