The US will keep its sanctions against Russia, even in the case of full implementation of the Minsk Agreements, the State Department’s Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Daniel Fried, said today.
According to him, it would entail carrying out a long-term policy of non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea to Russia. “Similar measures were imposed against the USSR, when the United States did not recognize the incorporation of the three Baltic republics into the Soviet Union. The only difference is that then the sanctions regime wasn’t applied,” he said, expressing confidence that the sanctions pressure on Russia should be extended.
At the same time, the State Department’s Coordinator noted that the use of sanctions has become a very popular means now. “Some people argue that the sanctions are an intermediate option between doing nothing and military operations. But they have become more targeted,” Fried said.
He drew attention to the fact that the sanctions imposed by the US against Russia are the most ambitious ever applied. He highlighted items of the Minsk Agreements such as the holding of local elections in the south-east of Ukraine and the restoration of Ukrainian control over the contact line.
At the same time, Fried said that the package of restrictive measures relating to the reunification of Crimea with Russia cannot be separated from other measures.
The President of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, said in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza that Washington should be thanked for such a statement, because it allows the prospects for Russian-American relations to be understood and to live without illusions.
“This is a very valuable application and important information. First, they promised to lift the sanctions if Moscow shows flexibility on the Minsk Agreements. Now, it is clear that Moscow has a realistic and consistent position on the Ukrainian crisis and Washington turns to other contentious topics, and we have had more than enough of them to consider the sanctions to be perpetual,” he explained.
Remizov was confident that the US policy towards Russia will not change after the forthcoming presidential elections. “Changes in contacts with Moscow are possible only on the Syrian issue,” the expert noted.
Russia, according to him, can respond to the perpetual US sanctions by reducing its dependence on the technological and financial organizational structure of the West. “Moscow also may begin to reconsider its attitude to the intellectual property of Western multinational companies. We can stop fulfilling WTO rules during an economic war against us. We can create alternative mechanisms for payments, so disconnecting Russia from SWIFT won’t become a collapse of economic operations,” Mikhail Remizov listed.
A senior research officer of the Center for European Studies (University) at the Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs,Vladimir Olenchenko, stressed that this statement by the representative of the State Department narrows the relations between Russia and the United States, reducing the space for maneuver. “That is, an opportunity to make changes, attract more people and discuss more topics. It seems that the US is not interested in fully-fledged relations with Russia,” he said.
According to the expert, when Barack Obama leaves the post of the US president, the prospects of development of relations between Moscow and Washington depend on who wins the elections. “Most likely, Hillary Clinton will be the candidate from the Democratic Party and she will continue Obama’s policy,” Olenchenko explained.
“As for the Republicans, their attitude to Russia was harder, but more consistent and predictable. If Donald Trump will be their representative, it gives hope for a professional and more open dialogue,” the senior research officer of the Center for European Studies (University) at the Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs believes.
He added that it is necessary to wait for the comments of ministers and the country’s president. “If John Kerry will speak about it, then we will react, but, of course, it is not a matter of one day,” Vladimir Olenchenko concluded.