Trump to toughen sanctions against Russia

Trump to toughen sanctions against Russia

US President Donald Trump will sign a law on the imposition of sanctions against Russia soon, US Vice President Mike Pence said during a visit in Tbilisi.

He said that the sanctions will be revoked only if Moscow fulfills its obligations. 

The vice president explained that the new law allows the president and the US State Department to pursue a more flexible policy. "In signing the sanctions the Congress and President are speaking in a unified voice. Those matters that President Trump spoke about in Warsaw about Russia's efforts to support wrong regimes," he stressed.

This morning German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said he hopes Trump will finally opt not to sign the bill on further anti-Russian sanctions in its current edition.

"We are glad that the American president has not yet made up his mind what to do with that. He has a possibility to discuss these sanctions with us, to take into account European interests," DPA cited him as saying.

He said that the Europeans hope the US would not act to the prejudice of Europe’s interests.

The director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, explained that the stand-off between large business of the EU and the US will continue for years, if not decades. "Recently, the US and the EU have been losing to Asian countries in economic competition, because Asia found a successful economic model, there is a very cheap price of labor, rapidly developing markets are concentrated there," the expert said.

According to him, the economic contraction in the EU and the US leads to huge cataclysms. "In fact, it turns out that the standard of living in the US and the EU is declining. And if it goes on this way, both the US and the EU will lose economic and then technological power. Moreover, huge political upheavals will await them, because voters will blame politicians," the director of the Institute of Political Studies noted.

The expert recalled that the new US bill, in fact, is aimed at damaging the country's competitors and capturing their markets. "The US has almost cut off Qatari gas exports, now Russian gas will be blocked, and Europeans will be forced to buy expensive American gas. The competitiveness of European companies will decline, and the profitability of US oil and gas companies will increase. It's not about Russia, it's just part of the competition between Russian and US corporations for preserving highly profitable companies in the niche," Sergei Markov concluded.

The deputy dean of the Faculty of Global Economics and International Affairs of the Higher School of Economics of the National Research University, Andrei Suzdaltsev, in turn, said that  is hardly worth waiting for the improvement of Russia's relations with Europe. "Europe will eventually give in to the US. The relationship between them is colossal: they have a huge turnover and NATO. The influence of the US on the ruling circles of Europe is almost monopolistic. Therefore, it's just a matter of the US somehow considering the interests of European companies, maybe giving Europe some compensation, because 9 billion euros have already been spent on the construction of Nord Stream-2," he said.

The expert recalled that there are different views on the new US sanctions against Russia in Berlin as well. "Those who are more concerned with humanitarian issues or public relations, of course, stand for support of sanctions, and those who are more connected with economic problems categorically oppose them," the deputy dean of the Faculty of Global Economics and International Affairs of the Higher School of Economics of the National Research University said.

According to Suzdaltsev, in general, tightening sanctions against Russia will not complicate the already economically difficult relations between Europe and the United States. "They have problems all the time. Of course, American gas is more expensive, costs are high, so this is serious for Germany, because low gas prices actually provide German economy. But Americans are on top here, so they will push their conditions,"explained he.

"I think there will be no trade war. Europe and the United States will solve this difficulty behind the scenes - naturally, at the expense of Russia," Andrey Suzdaltsev summed up.