24 Sep 2021 14:31

Anti-Russian sanctions recommended in U.S. draft defense budget economic blackmail - Russian senator

MOSCOW. Sept 24 (Interfax) - Russian Federation Council Deputy Speaker Konstantin Kosachyov has described the anti-Russian sanctions recommended in the U.S. draft defense budget as economic blackmail and nonsense.

"The U.S. Congress House of Representatives has approved the draft defense budget for the next financial year. What makes this interesting for us is that it contains the next batch of measures of economic blackmail (the standard purpose of similar unilateral sanctions) against Russia," Kosachyov said on Facebook on Friday.

The inclusion of another state's highest-ranking officials, including the prime minister and ministers, on such sanctions lists is "diplomatic mauvais ton," he said.

"It looks like outright nonsense, as the U.S. leader has just called on countries worldwide to 'work together as never before' to solve key problems, primarily to put an end to the coronavirus pandemic. And what is the American leadership proposing obviously as the first measure to 'work together as never before' to counter the pandemic? It proposes including the health minister of the country which was the first to develop a coronavirus vaccine on personal sanctions lists (with visa bans, etc.)," Kosachyov said.

He also dismissed as absurd an amendment on Russia's sovereign debt that was submitted "as another response to 'Russia's interference in American elections.'"

"It appears absurd, but it is by no means an accident: The Wall Street Journal has just published data which, I quote, 'underscores how the Russia collusion tale was concocted and peddled by the Clinton campaign.' But, of course, it is Russia that needs to be punished once again," Kosachyov said.

Since this is the defense budget, the U.S., as a matter of fact, wants to use its economic advantages for military purposes, "including its influence on world finances, as was the case with the ban on Americans buying Russian sovereign bonds on secondary markets, which is expected to cause economic damage to Russia as a state, rather than to concrete officials," he said.

Besides, today, sanctions have become "a tax on sovereignty" once and for all, Kosachyov said.

"As a matter of fact, this is the payment for the chance to pursue an independent policy. And their main function is not to punish a country which is subject to flogging for show, but to intimidate doubters: mind how you behave in this or that situation, how to vote in the UN or who to buy weapons from, for example. This is the price of freedom for you. Look at Russia's example," he said.