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Kremlin casts doubt on potential US sanctions relief for Rusal

April 24, 12:49 UTC+3

The Kremlin spokesman branded the US sanctions against Rusal "asset grabbing"

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. Washington’s statements about potential sanctions relief for Russia’s aluminum giant, Rusal, are speculative, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday, adding that he finds it difficult to assess the consistency of the US position on the issue.

"Here I would like to be reserved [in estimates] as those statements are hypothetical. The decision taken is obviously having a rather harsh effect on the consumers of the company’s products on various continents," he noted

Peskov added that "so far it is difficult to say how consistent our American counterparts are in their approach."

The Kremlin spokesman branded the US sanctions against Rusal "asset grabbing."

"We still consider these sanctions to be illegal. We believe that in relation to a single company such actions are akin to asset grabbing," Peskov told journalists, commenting on reports that the US may lift sanctions imposed on Rusal should Oleg Deripaska divest and relinquish control of the Russian aluminum giant.

Washington initiates "many provocative actions and [makes] provocative statements," Peskov said, adding that he would prefer to "remain reserved." "This [US statement] gives no occasion to any estimations - either positive or negative. Overall, the situation is far from perfect," he noted.

As reported earlier, sanctions relief can be provided for Rusal if its co-owner Oleg Deripaska makes divestment and relinquishes control over the company.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury extended the deadline for ending transactions with the Russian aluminum producer Rusal until October 23, 2018, the OFAC said.

On April 6, the US Treasury slapped sanctions against Oleg Deripaska, as well as Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, VTB head Andrei Kostin, owner of Renova Viktor Vekselberg, Surgutneftegaz CEO Vladimir Bogdanov, Sibur board member Kirill Shamalov, businessmen Igor Rotenberg, and Suleiman Kerimov. According to an explanatory note attached to the new US restrictions list, American authorities ordered US investors to get rid of shares of sanctioned Russian companies by May 7, 2018.

Among the companies slapped with the latest sanctions are several enterprises belonging to Oleg Deripaska, including Agroholding Kuban, Eurosibenergo, Rusal, Russian Machines Holding and GAZ Group, B-Finance investment company, Basic Element, and En+. According to an explanatory note attached to the list, the US authorities ordered US investors to get rid of shares of sanctioned Russian companies by May 7, 2018. Also, before June 5, American investors should cancel all contracts they signed earlier with all blacklisted companies.

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