The White House imposing tough sanctions on major Russian companies may pose a problem to Washington itself given that these companies collaborate with European and US firms, according to a report by The Washington Post.
The newspaper recalled the "fast and fierce" fallout caused by sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and his companies in April, followed by "havoc far beyond Russia" and a spike in global aluminum prices that "battered US and European companies that use the metal."
"After an outcry from manufacturers and foreign governments, Treasury softened its stance, giving companies more time to end dealings with the [Russian] aluminum producer, Rusal, and suggesting it could lift sanctions on the company if Deripaska cedes control," The Washington Post said.
The newspaper described the developments as a "cautionary tale" that comes as US Congress considers slapping more sanctions on Russia, which "could prove painful for European oil and gas companies."
In this vein, The Washington Post cited economists and trade experts as saying that unlike other countries that have been sanctioned by the US, including Iran, Cuba, Myanmar and North Korea, "Russia plays a bigger role in global commerce, giving the sanctions more potential to sting — both their intended targets and unintended bystanders in the United States and Europe."
Russia "is part of the world economy [and] a member of the World Trade Organization; its banks are connected throughout Europe and the US," Richard Sawaya, a sanctions expert at the National Foreign Trade Council, pointed out.
He was echoed by Jacob Kirkegaard, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, who warned that energy-related sanctions "could prove particularly harmful to European companies," which will be banned from "large energy projects outside Russia if they involve a Russian state-controlled company."
The new anti-Russian sanctions, which came into force earlier on Monday, include, in particular, a ban on supplies of dual-purpose electronic devices and components to Russia.
Earlier, the Russian Trade Ministry announced that Moscow had developed response measures to offset the US ban on the export of dual-purpose goods to the country, noting that the ban would affect several industries, but that the impact would not be critical.
After ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious in Salisbury, UK, on March 4, London was quick to accuse Russia of orchestrating the Skripals' poisoning with a nerve agent.
The Russian government has repeatedly denied involvement in the Skripal case, pointing at the lack of evidence provided by London.