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    Russia Still Prepares to Challenge EU, US Sanctions in WTO: Kremlin

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    Russia continues preparations needed to challenge through mechanisms of the World Trade Organization the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, presidential aide Andrei Belousov said Thursday.

    Updated 17:32 a.m. Moscow time

    SAMARA, September 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russia continues preparations needed to challenge through mechanisms of the World Trade Organization the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, presidential aide Andrei Belousov said Thursday.

    “These lawsuits are being prepared. I can’t say for sure when [they will be filed], but it will happen fairly soon,” he said.

    Belousov noted that Western sanctions against Russia run counter to the principles of the WTO, adding that by introducing the restrictive measures the United Nations, the European Union ended up in a trap together with Russia.

    "The thing is that if we win, it will be an international scandal, the West will have to lift the sanctions. If we lose, it will set a very negative precedent. Negative, first of all, for the system of global trade as any country in order to advance its own interests, political interests, would be able to introduce measures against any other country that are contrary to free trade principles," the senior economic aide to President Vladimir Putin said.

    It will also hit the WTO system hard, Belousov added.

    "That's why a rather complicated situation is arising here, created, unfortunately, by our partners," the aide said.

    In March, the United States and the European Union introduced a package of targeted sanctions against Russia in response to Crimea's reunification with Russia. As the Ukrainian crisis escalated, several new rounds of sanctions targeting Russia's defense, energy and banking sectors followed, with US allies adding Russian individuals and entities to their own blacklists.

    Moscow said in July that the sanctions violated WTO rules and may force Moscow into a destabilizing trade dispute. The US ambassador to the WTO said the actions were consistent with the obligations within the organization.

    Countries enforcing trade sanctions do not have to justify them at the WTO unless they are challenged in a trade dispute. Justifications for restricting trade can range from environmental and health reasons to religious scruples.

    Moscow has repeatedly called the language of sanctions "counterproductive," saying the measures "threaten international peace and stability" and run counter to the principles of international law.

    Tags:
    sanctions, World Trade Organization (WTO), Andrei Belousov
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