The Russian ruble is getting slammed amid U.S. sanctions

Lloyd Doyle
August 10, 2018

The Kremlin was drawing up retaliatory sanctions last night, a day after the U.S. state department announced new measures to punish Russian Federation after it concluded that it was responsible for the novichok attack against a former double agent and his daughter in Salisbury in March.

The US expelled a number of Russian diplomats as part of an worldwide response to the attack, when the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were taken ill in March.

Image copyright AFP Image caption The poisoning of the Skripals led to many police searches for the source of the Novichok in Salisbury Why do countries use sanctions?

NBC, citing USA officials, said the second round of sanctions could include downgrading diplomatic relations, suspending the state airline Aeroflot's ability to fly to the United States and cutting off almost all exports and imports.

The sanctions are mandated under the Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, which says the U.S. president shall tighten the penalties within 90 days unless Moscow provides "reliable assurances" that it no longer engages in such activities, and allows on-site inspections by United Nations observers.

"The administration is rightly acting to uphold global bans on the use of chemical weapons", said Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow felt it could now "expect anything at all from Washington" but still held hopes for "constructive relations".

Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) wrote to President Trump on July 26 that enforcement of the Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 in Russia's UK Novichok attack "is critical to deterring additional attacks". In March 60 Russian diplomats were expelled and Russia's consulate in Seattle was closed.

Clark went on to call the Skripal case a convenient excuse, saying the U.S. has a history of finding reasons to sanction Moscow no matter what.

Reuters reports the new sanctions come in two tranches. Since the chances of this determination being made are nearly a certainty, the next round of sanctions is coming in three months. The Post concluded it is likely an attempt to stave off far more punitive sanctions legislation now being considered in Congress.

Countries can also impose financial sanctions.

Vladimir Vasilyev, a senior researcher at the Institute of the USA and Canada in Moscow, said the Americans were strengthening sanctions "from an element of pressure into an ultimatum".

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters he wanted it to be a "sanctions bill from hell".

The ruble is down 14.25% versus the dollar this year.

It remains unclear if lawmakers will succeed in passing the bill, with Congressional leaders having seemed unconvinced.

A photo released by the Russian Foreign Ministry shows U.S. President Donald Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, and then Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak in the White House in May 2017.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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