U.S. Treasury Department ‘Clarifies’ U.S. Sanctions on Russia
July 15, 2022 (EIRNS)—The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a “fact sheet” yesterday “to further clarify that agricultural commodities (including fertilizer), agricultural equipment, or medicine relating to Russia are not the target of U.S. sanctions.” Titled “OFAC Food Security Fact Sheet: Russia Sanctions and Agricultural Trade,” it came in the wake of the July 13 announcement from Istanbul that negotiators from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations had agreed on steps toward ensuring the export of agriculture products from Ukraine via the Black Sea. The Treasury said in its statement that the U.S. was also taking steps to expand the agricultural and medical authorizations to include agricultural machinery. The expansion “further reiterates that U.S. sanctions on Russia in response to its unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine do not stand in the way of agricultural and medical trade,” it said.
At least one politician in Moscow was not impressed with the Treasury statement, however. Deputy Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, dismissed the statement, saying that it was little more than a sign of desperation at the condition of the U.S. economy. “The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s clarification that anti-Russian sanctions don’t apply to agriculture, the energy sector, healthcare, the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and transit flights should not be taken as a sign of a thaw, or Washington’s constructive approach,” the lawmaker observed, and further stating that “nothing of the kind is likely to happen in the near future.” The exemptions from U.S. sanctions announced by the Treasury Department “are only aimed at preventing their own economy from collapsing,” Slutsky concluded.