The Department of State just issued this press release on new Russia sanctions:
Following the use of a “Novichok” nerve agent in an attempt to assassinate UK citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal, the United States, on August 6, 2018, determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the Government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals.
Following a 15-day Congressional notification period, these sanctions will take effect upon publication of a notice in the Federal Register, expected on or around August 22, 2018.”
The immediate impact of these new sanctions is that any attempt by a U.S. company to obtain an export license on certain items implicating national security concerns will be denied. Attempts to prove such items will be used for legitimate purposes, with safeguards to protect U.S. national security, will represent a very tough burden of proof. Sample items include gas turbine engines, electronics, integrated circuits as well as testing and calibration equipment.
The CBW Act will require the imposition of tougher sanctions to be imposed in three months if Russia fails to take corrective measures. To avoid such sanctions, the U.S. Government would have to find that Russia is:
- no longer using chemical or biological weapons;
- providing reliable reassurances that it will not use them in the future; and
- allowing international inspectors to ensure compliance.
It is unlikely such findings will be forthcoming in the short three months to come.