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Countersanctions should be adopted before end of July, says upper house speaker

The bill will have its first reading on May 15

MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. Retaliatory restrictions, or countersanctions, in response to the actions of the US and other foreign countries should be adopted during the spring session of the Russian parliament (before July 24), Russian Federation Council (upper house) Speaker Valentina Matviyenko told journalists on Wednesday.

"As for the deadline [for the law to be adopted], it’s not the most important thing right now, and it’s too early to say. The crucial thing for us at this moment is the law’s contents. We must approach this very carefully. However, it is certain that the legislation should be adopted during the spring session. The most important thing is quality, we are in no rush," Matviyenko emphasized.

She added that the bill needs to be thoroughly reviewed. "We need to meticulously study all measures being put forward. The main principle is not to cause any harm to Russia through our own actions, not to harm Russia’s economy, separate industries, companies, business, and most importantly, our citizens," the Federation Council speaker stressed.

"It will be a framework law that will determine how we should apply sanctions. It will be a federal law that will provide an opportunity for our government to implement sanctions at the right time and on the required scale, so that our response measures will be felt," Matviyenko concluded.

Anti-Russian sanctions and Russia’s response

On April 6, Washington slapped sanctions on 7 key Russian entrepreneurs, 17 government officials and state-run corporations’ executives, 12 private companies and two state institutions in response to the alleged "malicious activities" of the Russian government. According to the US Treasury, the assets of 24 Russian citizens and 14 organizations will be frozen, if it falls under US jurisdiction. The restrictions also forbid US citizens from forming any business relationships with those on the list. The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that Moscow would hit back with a harsh response to the US sanctions.

On Friday, Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and leaders of four parliamentary fractions introduced a bill on retaliatory measures to the antagonistic actions by the US and other foreign states. The bill provides for a ban or restrictions on imported farming products, pharmaceuticals, tobacco and alcohol originating from the United States and other unfriendly countries. The bans and restrictions will not cover items imported to Russia by Russian and foreign citizens, as well as stateless persons, for personal use.

The bill will have its first reading on May 15.