US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that Washington's recent anti-Russian sanctions had the “necessary impact.”
Speaking in an interview broadcast Thursday on Fox Business, Mnuchun said that these sanctions are very important and powerful tools. "The sanctions that we put out on the oligarchs, the sanctions that we put out on the Russian politicians, those had the necessary impact," the secretary stressed.
“I’m not going to go through the specifics, but we refined the strategy after Nikki made that announcement,” Mnuchin said. “Between Saturday and Sunday and Monday, we refined the strategy, and we will continue to refine the strategy."
He didn’t rule out additional financial penalties, saying the administration “is not afraid to use these tools." "We will use these tools - but we’re not going to broadcast to the world our exact thinking," Mnuchin stressed.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in turn, said that the anti-Russian campaign has ebbed, despite it was artificially fueled by the unprecedented sanctions.
The top diplomat noted that the US military will not accept a direct military clash between Russia and the US. But US politicians try to goad the leaders of their country, "insisting on more and more confrontation, including outright confrontation."
But according to the Russian foreign ministry, this anti-Russian campaign "has ebbed". "It was artificially fueled by the unprecedented sanctions, and relied on them to compel us to accept their conditions for the further development of the relations. This was naïve and short-sighted," Sputnik cited Lavrov as saying.
He compared the anti-Russian campaign with a marathon. "I think we see the same process now, although those who want to play out this Russophobic campaign, also wish for it to gain momentum, but you can and you definitely will strain yourself," the minister warned.
The director of the Roosevelt Fund of Study of the US at Moscow State University, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Yuri Rogulev, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Washington understands that any sanctions create double-edged problems. "The constant build-up of sanctions leads to a deadlock, because making sanctions more and more serious, in fact, countries are moving to a trade war, after which the next step is a real conflict. Now we can only hope that at this stage Washington decided to take a break," Yury Rogulev recalled.
"I think Steven Mnuchin meant that now it is time to take a break and see where this goes. But we cannot be absolutely sure that the US is curtailing its sanctions campaign against Russia. Sanctions are such a tool that Washington uses constantly, therefore the current pause does not mean refusal from further escalating of the sanctions against us," the expert warned.
The politicization of sanctions does not allow us to determine precisely which "effect" Mnuchin talks about. "They think that the pressure exerted on the richest and allegedly close to the Kremlin people has had an economic effect in terms of reducing revenues, a drop in the value of shares in a number of Russian companies, primarily Rusal. Washington saw this effect and, apparently, was satisfied," the director of the Roosevelt Fund of Study of the US at Moscow State University concluded.
The senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Olenchenko, drew attention to the streamlining of Munchin's statement, which was apparently made within the framework of the domestic political struggle in the United States. "It seems to me that Mnuchin stressed a positive effect from sanctions for his domestic political opponents. This is not specific, so it's difficult to judge whether American forecasts have been realized. At least they were supposed to slow the development of the Russian economy, Russia's trade relations with other countries and financial flows," the expert listed.
He stressed that, of course, the United States was too carried away with the use of sanctions tools. "The US perception of the economy is based on the stock borrowing, and, from its point of view, the market reaction is of great importance. The market has reacted, indeed, but it has already smoothed out. Now the United States is threatened by the following problem: if they continue to use the sanctions policy, the market will get used to it and stop reacting to it," the senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences specified.