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MOSCOW, March 3. /TASS/. Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian Federation Council upper house of parliament Konstantin Kosachev on Thursday called the extension of the US sanctions against Russia "Washington’s holler addressed to Europeans."
"Obviously, it [the US President's order on the extension of anti-Russian sanctions for another year] is also a signal to the Europeans", the parliamentarian wrote on his Facebook page.
Kosachev said that "just yesterday the influential Wall Street Journal [WSJ] wrote that the number of EU countries wishing to cancel the anti-Russian sanctions has increased, and the July decision on their further extension may be if not at risk then in doubt." "There was a holler from Washington in advance suggesting that it is not advisable to deviate from the [US] general line," according to Kosachev.
The head of Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee believes that the extension of the US sanctions against Russia "is not sensational news." "Their lifting would be a surprise," he added. According to the official, "The country that continued to maintain the sanctions introduced over the foreign travel restrictions in the USSR for Jews even after the collapse of the Soviet Union and lifting of all the travel restrictions definitely cannot surprise us."
According to the parliamentarian, the motivation of the White House’s decision, saying, in particular, that Russia's actions in respect of Ukraine represent an extraordinary threat to the US national security and foreign policy, speaks for itself. "One cannot be more outspoken: they clearly admit that the Maidan project [of antigovernment protests in Ukraine] is part of Washington's interests and foreign policy", he added.
US President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday that sanctions against Russia would be extended for another year. The text of Obama’s announcement was published on the White House’s website on Wednesday. The US President extended four of his Executive Orders initially signed in 2014 that, in particular, ban economic activity between US citizens and companies with a number of Ukrainian and Russian businesses and individuals.
"I found that the actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets," Obama stated. In particular, Obama extended Order 13660, which targeted those involved in the suppression of Euromaidan activists; Order 13661, which imposed sanctions on a number of Russian politicians; Order 13662, which tightened sanctions against Crimea; and Order 13685, which banned American companies from conducting business with enterprises that operate on the territory of Crimea.
"The actions and policies addressed in these Executive Orders continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, the national emergency declared on March 6, 2014, and the measures adopted on that date, on March 16, 2014, on March 20, 2014, and December 19, 2014, to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond March 6, 2016. Therefore… I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13660," Obama’s statement reads.
The sanctions are applicable to a number of Russian citizens, including state officials, and to officials of the government of Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovich. Apart from that, a number of Russian companies and businessmen, as well as the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics also fell under the sanctions.