What will Russia’s new counter-measures against US ‘sanctions’ entail?

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The ‘sanctions’ game is wearing thin within Russia, the consequence of which has not been weakened support for Putin, but rather strengthened support. The US has announced yet further ‘sanctions’ (trade embargo on specific items) against Russia.

Earlier this month, Russia announced it would be looking at increasing its countermeasures to the US embargo on certain Russian goods and targeted individuals. They made this statement in response to the US’s statement on August 9th, that it would renew and increase sanctions on Russia. At the time, Russia also then said it was looking at counter-measures.

These still haven’t been disclosed to the public, however.

The phrase itself ‘sanctions’ borrows from concepts and terms within international law. However, absent a UN mandate, these aren’t ‘sanctions’, they are just trade embargo mechanisms.

A ‘sanction’ means: a penalty for disobeying a law or rule.; “a range of sanctions aimed at deterring insider abuse”

Thinking people will instantly spot the problem in this definition in that it doesn’t apply to the US-Russia relationship. Rather, it plays upon the US’s self-conception as world police, judge, and jury. However, Russia is not a subject of the US, is not subject to the US’s whims, proclivities, or laws as such. Much to the chagrin of Atlanticist powers, Russia is a sovereign state.

This is an embargo, not ‘sanctions’. Russia hasn’t broken any laws, but nations are free to choose their trading partners. The US is free not to trade with Russia, except where it is bound to do so as a requirement of membership in the WTO. For these reasons, Russia has filed a lawsuit against the US through the WTO.

The war of language is critically important, and FRN will generally refer to ‘sanctions’ in scarequotes, or refer to them as what they are – trade embargos bordering on acts of war. 

The most recent news is that the Russian Ministry of Commerce has announced that Russian authorities have developed response measures that will offset the US’s ban on certain exports to Russia. Yet, so far, we have not seen what these will be.

The Commerce Ministry also said that the United States’ ban on the export of dual purpose goods would affect several industries, but it would not be critical.

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Earlier, Washington announced new sanctions against Russia over the alleged use of chemical weapons by Moscow in the English town of Salisbury against a former Russian intelligence officer.

The new bundle of restrictions prohibits the export of electronic devices and dual-use components to Russia.
The next round of sanctions includes a ban on Russian Aeroflot flights, limiting diplomatic ties and suspending US exports. Washington said restrictions could be avoided if Washington confirmed that Russia “is no longer using chemical or biological weapons.”

Those familiar with rudiments in logic will quickly spot the intentional flaw in Washington’s criteria.

It is generally understood that in most cases it is difficult to prove the evidence of absence. Rather, the onus typically falls on those making a positive claim. So in this case, if the US believes that Russia is ‘still’ using chemical or biological weapons, they would need to establish their evidence of this. The onus really doesn’t fall upon Russia to prove that it doesn’t have something, when along these lines, the US can simply say that ‘it is hiding it still elsewhere’. This was a very similar game that was played by Colin Powell at the UN against Iraq.

Moscow sees no justification for new US sanctions against the Russian Federation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday.

“This has turned into a bad tradition, of constantly returning to the topic of sanctions against Russia imposed under false pretenses,” Ryabkov said in a comment posted on Russia’s Foreign Ministry website.

“As usual, no evidence or justification, just malicious insinuations. They [the Americans] act on the principle of ‘the worse, the better,'” Ryabkov emphasized.

He added that Moscow will continue to respond to US sanctions in a way that does not disrupt Russian national interests.

Although Washington placed sanctions on Russia over the Salisbury incident with the so-called ‘Novichok’, they are yet to provide any evidence that Moscow was responsible. Although London led the charge that Russia was responsible, they to are also yet to provide any evidence that Moscow conducted the chemical attack against the Skripals. Rather, this was an excuse for the Anglo powers to try and halt the rise of the Eurasian giant in the age of multipolarity.

Based upon Russia’s statements, specifically those made by Russian senior lawmaker, Sergey Ryabukhin, said Russia could halt exports of its RD-180 rocket engines. The United States largely relies upon these to launch it’s own government satellites into space. A ban on Aeroflot flights to the United States also could lead to a ban on U.S. airlines traversing Russian airspace, which would greatly reduce the marketability of U.S airlines. As a result, Russian analysts say that fresh sanctions are unlikely to weaken Putin

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