Trump administration refuses to impose new Russia sanctions despite law | News | DW | 30.01.2018
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


Trump administration refuses to impose new Russia sanctions despite law

The Trump administration says it will ignore a new sanctions law aimed at punishing Russia for alleged election meddling. The White House has, however, released a list of Russian elites with close ties to Vladimir Putin.

On Monday, the Trump administration declined to impose fresh sanctions on anyone found to have conducted major business with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors.

It did, however, make good on one part of the sanctions bill: the release of the "Kremlin Report." The seven-page document is a who's who of Russian elites believed to be benefiting directly from President Vladimir Putin's tenure as the head of the Kremlin. Each of the 114 listed individuals is estimated to have a net worth of over $1 billion (€800 million).

Read more: Donald Trump willing to be questioned 'under oath' in Russia probe

Watch video 00:22

Donald Trump on Russian President Putin's views on meddling in US election

What do the new Russia sanctions target?

  • The latest round of sanctions target companies or foreign governments found to have engaged in "significant transactions" with blacklisted Russian entities, particularly in the defense and intelligence industry.
  • The term "significant transactions" has no dollar figure attached to it, making it effectively impossible to establish what is and isn't permissible.

Why the White House refused to impose the sanctions

  • State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that, given the long time frame associated with defense deals, it would be more effective to wait and impose the new sanctions at a better time.
  • In the meantime, the State Department said sanctions imposed on Moscow last summer were already serving as a deterrent and hitting blacklisted Russian companies.

Read more: Nervous Russian elite 'realize Putin made a serious mistake'

Reactions to Trump's decision 

Representative Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives, said he was "fed up waiting for this administration to protect our country and our elections."

"The State Department claims that the mere threat of sanctions will deter Russia's aggressive behavior. How do you deter an attack that happened two years ago, and another that's already underway? It just doesn't make sense," Engel said in a statement.  

On Tuesday, President Putin described the list of Russian political and business leaders eligible for sanctions as an "unfriendly act," but also joked of being offended that his name wasn't included.

Although the list could further strain US-Russia ties, Putin said he would not be taking reciprocal measures. "We are not interested in curtailing our ties with the United States," he told supporters. "We are not going to look for trouble and aggravate relations. We know what we want. We want to build long-term, stable ties based on international law."

New sanctions already kicked in: In 2017, the US Congress voted almost unanimously on a law setting sweeping new sanctions designed to punish Russia for what officials say was its interference in the 2016 presidential election. Though the new sanctions have technically kicked in, they will remain unenforced until US President Donald Trump decides otherwise.

State Department cautious on sanctions: Last year, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US would proceed cautiously with sanctions as allies have much at stake. NATO partner Turkey recently agreed to a deal to purchase Russian air defense systems, while Saudi Arabia also struck a series of arms deals with Moscow.

President under investigation: Special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees continue to investigate ties between Russia and Trump's electoral campaign team. The White House's refusal to impose new sanctions will add fuel to accusations that Trump is acting far too softly on Moscow.

Trump denies collusion: The president has repeatedly denied claims that his campaign officials colluded with the Kremlin to tilt the 2016 presidential election in his favor.

Read more: Donald Trump wanted to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, media report

dm/kms (Reuters, AP)

DW recommends

Audios and videos on the topic