As anti-Russia hysteria reaches a boil in Washington DC …
President Putin warned Sunday that bilateral relations with Washington appeared to be headed for a prolonged period of gridlock, while confirming the exact number of US diplomats who must leave Russia under measures undertaken in retaliation for new sanctions passed by the US Congress.
“More than a thousand people were working and are still working” at the US embassy and consulates, Putin said in an interview with Rossiya-24 television.
“Seven hundred and fifty-five people must stop their activities in Russia.”
Earlier, Russia’s Foreign Ministry had demanded that the US slash its diplomatic presence in Russia to 455 by September – the same number of diplomats that Moscow has in Washington.
The Kremlin chief added that an improvement in Russia’s relations with the US could not be expected “any time soon.” Indeed, he warned that Russia reserved the right to impose additional sanctions in the future.
“We have waited long enough, hoping that the situation would perhaps change for the better,” he said. “But it seems that even if the situation is changing, it’s not for any time soon.”
From my comment last Wednesday …
EU Set to Impose Countermeasures
The U.S. Congress adopted a bill imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. If this bill is passed, it will make it possible to impose measures against European natural or legal persons due to situations that have no connection with the United States.
Consequently, the extraterritorial scope of this text appears to be unlawful under international law. We have challenged similar texts that may have been adopted in the past.
In order to protect ourselves from the extraterritorial effects of U.S. legislation (and other legislation), we need to adapt our national mechanisms and update European mechanisms. During the previous legislature period, the National Assembly accomplished valuable work in that respect.
In any event, this issue should be discussed with the institutions [such as the G7], especially the European Commission, and our EU partners.
Sanctions in place against Russia, imposed in light of its 2014 annexation of Crimea and involvement in the conflict in south-east Ukraine, present a monumental challenge to policy-makers. Never before has such a powerful and strategically-important target been sanctioned to this degree. Its high level of integration in the global economy facilitates sanctions circumvention, while heightening political stakes. Russia’s retaliatory counter-sanctions have proven divisive in Europe and led to calls by some member states and business lobbies for their lifting, irrespective of a political settlement.
In emphasising that sanctions never operate in isolation and must always be considered alongside other policy instruments, our report brings to the fore the following findings …
Possible countermeasures by the EC needs unanimity of all nations to go into effect immediately. Nest step would be to lodge a complaint with the WTO but that proces will take years. Most likely the US will be hit by a most similar countermeasure which will sour relations anyway. The isolation of the US and the UK after Brexit is already upon the rest of the world.