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Head of Russian human rights council against ban on imports of medicines from US

April 29, 0:24 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Mikhail Fedotov also noted that expendable materials for medical equipment should not become objects of foreign trade sanctions

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Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights

Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights

© TASS/Mihail Dzhaparidze

MOSCOW, April 29. /TASS/. The chairman of the Council for Civic Society and Human Rights, Mikhail Fedotov, has spoken strongly against a ban on the imports of medicines from the US, a suggestion that is featured in a bill on Russia’s countersanctions.

"I feel confident neither medicines nor expendable materials for medical equipment should become objects of foreign trade sanctions," the Council quoted Fedotov at its official homepage on Saturday.

He indicated he realized it in September 2016 in the Syrian city of Latakia when he was visiting Tishrin hospital together with the Russian physician Yelizaveta Glinka, also known as Doctor Liza [who died in an air crash in December 2016 - TASS].

"We saw new equipment there that was idling because of the absence of expendable materials and we saw excellent physicians who just didn’t have anything to treat their patients with," Fedotov said.

He indicated that he shared his impressions with President Vladimir Putin then. After that, Putin spoke in support of this position when he awarded a state prize to Doctor Liza on December 8, 2016, for outstanding achievements in the sphere of human rights protection.

Fedotov recalled then that Putin said medicines and medical equipment should never be subject to any trade restrictions.

"I think the President’s words are fully applicable to the situations of sanctions and/or countersanctions in Russian-US trade relations," he said.

Somewhat earlier, the Russian ombudsperson for human rights, Tatiana Moskalkova came up with an appeal to exclude medicines and healthcare technologies from the lists of commodities and services falling under sanctions.

The bill on counteraction to unfriendly actions on the part of the US and/or other foreign nations was submitted to the State Duma on April 13 by the leaders of all the party caucuses and Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.

The authors of the legislative motion drafted it as a response to the challenges coming from the US and American officials and made manifest in highly unfriendly or destructive actions, which take the form of sanctions against Russia as a country, separate individuals or legal entities, a letter of comments to the bill said.

The bill allowed the Russian government to enact a range of economic and political measures. Their scope included a ban on imports of medicines, liquors, tobacco, agricultural produce, manufacturing equipment, and software from the US.

The bill also embraces the countries supporting Washington’s policies but makes an exception for bringing the above-said items to Russia for individual consumption.

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