US State Department announced that the US is prepared to impose new sanctions on Russia due to its alleged role in the Skripal nerve agent attack.
The sanctions are required by law due to Russia’s unsurprising failure to provide any evidence that it would no longer use chemical weapons, despite no evidence that it used them in the first place. The initial batch of sanctions were imposed on August 24th.
“Today, the Department informed Congress we could not certify that the Russian Federation met the conditions required by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991. We intend to proceed in accordance with the terms of the CBW Act, which directs the implementation of additional sanctions,” US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert was cited by Sputnik on November 6th.
“The Department is consulting with Congress regarding next steps,” Nauert said, referencing a legal requirement that could potentially be dragged out for a while before any actual sanctions are imposed.
The cited law was invoked by the US in August when it imposed an initial batch of sanctions on Russia to punish it for the alleged attack on Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Under law, Russia had 90 days to “demonstrate” that it would renounce the use of chemical weapons and allow inspectors from the UN and mostly from the US.
Naturally and expectedly Russia did no such thing, because any actions would mean that Russia acknowledges the accusations of playing a role in the failed alleged assassination attempt. Moscow has denied all accusations and has repeatedly called for the provision of evidence to back the allegations.
The second batch of sanctions that are to be imposed include the downgrading of all diplomatic relations, ban on the import of Russian oil and exports of “all other goods and technology,” apart from agricultural products. There will also be a limitation on loans that US banks can provide to Russian individuals and organizations.
“The Chemical Biological Weapons Act mandates that the State Department certify to the Congress whether Russia has met conditions required by the law three months after the initial determination of the Skripal case. That initial determination was made August 6, and that takes us to November 6,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino was cited by Sputnik.
US President Donald Trump can stop the sanctions if he deems that they go against US national interest. Whether that will happen is questionable, especially now that Democrats have control of the House of Representatives.
Palladino said that there is no rush to make a decision, the 1991 law doesn’t set out a timeline for when consultations with the Congress should end.
Anatoly Antonov, the Russian Ambassador to the US said that Moscow has seen conflicting information about the types of new US sanctions that could be put in place.
The Congress is also considering its own sanctions bills, which could also have far-reaching effects on the Russian economy. They include the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act, which would put restrictions on Americans buying Russian sovereign debt and curb investments in Russian energy projects.
The second batch of sanctions more than anything puts NASA in danger of having no supplier of rockets for their missions, since Russia is the only global producer of the technology.