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Last Updated on: 31st August 2018, 09:02 pm
This past week saw the latest round of American sanctions on Russia take effect. These were unique in their stemming from the Russian nerve agent attack on the Skripals in Great Britain. They increase significantly the assortment of economic penalties and pain that Russia has experienced over the past few years.
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Is This The End of Western Foreign Assistance and Arms Sales To Russia?
This week's punishing latest round of Russia sanctions bit deep. More than this, they are a personal assault on some of the activities that are nearest to the Russian government's heart. Foreign assistance to Russia terminates now.
Arms financing and sales to the Russians are also largely shut down. Moscow will also no longer get credit from America and much of the West. America will also no longer be exporting any technology, machinery, or goods that are considered to be security related items to Russia.
Relations Between Washington and Moscow At An All-Time Low
RIA has been busy reporting the Russian response. As you might expect, the Russians are anything but happy about the latest round of crippling sanctions. They are all the more irate as they stubbornly cling to the argument that they had nothing to do with the Novichok poisoning incident in the typically small, sleepy English town of Salisbury.
The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that such new sanctions will only add further to the already tense relations between the United States and Russia. The strange part of the entire affairs is that U.S. President Donald Trump actually wants to have improved relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yet despite this personal affinity the two powerful men have for each other, the ties with Moscow have never been worse.
They have only been further strained by the supposed Russian meddling in the U.S. 2016 year presidential election contest. Problems before this murky incident stem back to the dispute over Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine back in 2014. It also does not help that the West is heavily at odds with the Russians over their controversial part in the resolution of the devastating Syrian civil war.
The argument behind this most recent round of sanctions hails back to the sordid affair with the Russian father and daughter Skripal pair. One-time Russian GRU Military Intelligence Service Colonel Sergei Skripal along with Yulia his 33 year old daughter turned up unconscious lying on a Salisbury bench in a park in the south of England. The liquid state of Novichok nerve agent was present in their bodies. Both survived the assault after months of fighting for their lives in critical care in a British hospital. The Novichok had been put on their front door of Sergei's Salisbury home.
Will More Sanctions Actually Lead to a Noticeable Change in Russian Behavior?
The million dollar question on everyone's mind these days is: will still more sanctions applied against Russia serve to change their behavior? So far, at least three other previous rounds of them have produced little to no effect. Does the fact that the Europeans are on board with the Americans change things this time? Not really, they have been a nearly united front against the Russians on an economic level in each previous instance.
Moscow continues to vehemently deny any sort of involvement in the assault on the Skripals (besides having produced the Novichok exclusively in Soviet/Russian laboratories). Putin also looks in the eyes of his enemies and journalists alike and tells them with a straight face that he did not interfere in the U.S. elections back in 2016.
U.S. Will Not Back Off Until Russia Changes Its Aggressive Behaviors
Meanwhile back in the U.S., John Bolton the national security adviser of President Trump stated last Friday that Moscow has to alter its behavior meaningfully before America will consider lifting the lengthy sanctions' list. Bolton just sternly warned a Kiev news conference that:
“The sanctions remain in force and will remain in force until the required change in Russian behavior.”
The new sanctions measures became effective as of four days ago on August 27th. They will stay in place for minimally a whole year, per the Federal Register notice. The Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 is what authorized them. The only real exemptions will relate to government space collaboration, space flight-related activities, commercial airlines safety, and the most critical humanitarian assistance.