New Stage in US-Russia “Sanctions War”

On February 27, the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declared that Trump’s administration will introduce new sanctions against Russia in the upcoming 30 days.  The “necessity” of new sanctions against Russia derived from the last summer, when the US Congress almost unanimously adopted the law, which presupposes new sanctions against Russia for its intervention in the last presidential elections as well as for the US actions in Ukraine.

The law assumes that the US should use sanctions against the governments of those countries and companies that will cooperate with the US in the military or intelligence spheres. Besides, the law defines that the US government should release the list of persons, the so-called “Kremlin list”, which will contain the names of influential persons who have connections with Kremlin. The list was released by the US Treasury Department at the beginning of this year.

Although the law came into force at the beginning of the year, Trump’s administration did not hurry until recently to introduce new sanctions against Russia. It caused a new wave of criticism against Trump, who was blamed for his continuous mild policy towards Russia. In its turn Trump’s team insisted that the legal force of the law is already a deterring factor for those, who want to have a deal with Russia, and there is no need for new sanctions.

According to the US State Department sources, the threat of the US possible sanction has already worth 3-billion-dollar loss for Moscow. According to the same source, a number of “big countries” have already reconsidered their military purchases from Russia after the US published the list of intelligence and military companies, which can be targeted by the US possible sanction. To note, among the so-called big countries, the name of Turkey is often voiced, which has an agreement with Russia to obtain S-400 anti-missile systems.

To sum up we can state that despite the ambiguous stance of Trump team on the issue, judging from the US official statements, the possibility of new sanctions against Russia is rather high. Moreover, taking into consideration the fact that by that time the US presidential elections will be over, and the main favorite, the incumbent president V. Putin will be re-elected, the possibility is rather high that the latter will also turn to retaliatory rough actions, which will increase the tension.

As long as there is possibility for the indirect impact of this “sanction war” on Armenia, we need to be more active to prevent and minimize the possible challenges we can face.

Liana Hovhannisyan