New US Sanctions on Russia Imminent?
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act targeted Iran, North Korea and Russia.
The measure passed both houses by a near-unanimous 517 to 5 veto-proof majority.
Trump signed it into law, despite saying it's "significantly flawed," including "clearly unconstitutional provisions," encroaching on presidential authority to negotiate, "driv(ing) China, Russia and North Korea much closer together," along with antagonizing EU allies.
The measure saying it's up to Russia "to improve relations with the United States" arrogantly ignored full US responsibility for deplorable hostility toward a sovereign state without just cause, bipartisan relations deteriorating further since the bill became law.
It calls for sanctions on individuals and entities alleged to be involved in undermining US cybersecurity.
Other provisions target Russia's energy and pipeline projects, its financial institutions, alleged corruption, human rights abuses and evasion of sanctions, Russia's defense and intelligence sectors, investments in privatization of state enterprises, and helping Syria acquire weapons.
Sanctions called for include asset freezes, revocation of US visas, and banning US exports to sanctioned entities, pressuring other countries to follow suit - aiming to harm Russia's economy and anger its people against Putin, a failed scheme every time tried on numerous countries.
The measure was enacted on August 2. On Russia, the administration is required within 180 days to submit to Congress a detailed report, identifying significant individuals connected to the Kremlin, notably their relationship to "President Vladimir Putin or other members of the Russian ruling elite."
The law requires Trump to issue guidance on Russian military and intelligence sectors to be sanctioned by October 1, 2017, a deadline he missed, responding weeks later.
His next deadline is January 29, requiring him to sanction individuals and entities doing business in violation of targeted areas.
On December 20, the administration sanctioned five Russian individuals for alleged (not proved) involvement in human rights abuses and criminal conspiracies.
Last summer, Russia's Foreign Ministry slammed the measure, attributing it to "Russophobic hysteria," reserving the right to take appropriate action.
On Saturday, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said "(b)y end of January," two administration reports are due, regarding "implementation of the August anti-Russia law."
"One…we understand will have a list of persons, and possibly corporates, which may undergo the US sanctions; and the other report, we understand, will cover the topic of the current sanctions' effectiveness."
Ryabkov attributes what's going on as "another attempt to influence our domestic situation, especially before the upcoming (March) presidential election."
Moscow will counter US actions appropriately, he explained - "without damaging our own interests," including by working responsibly with the international community.
Irreconcilable bilateral differences remain, the geopolitical agenda of both countries world's apart.
Russia pursues world peace, stability, mutual cooperation among all nations, and multi-world polarity.
America seeks unchallenged global dominance, wars of aggression its favored strategy.
Talks between both countries accomplish nothing. Eventual confrontation is likely, Russia's best efforts unlikely to prevent it.
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