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Duma speaker advocates criminal liability for enforcing US sanctions on Russian soil

"In Russia, we must live according to Russian laws," Vyacheslav Volodin stressed

MOSCOW, April 20. /TASS/. Speaker of the State Duma (the lower house of Russia’s parliament) Vyacheslav Volodin is pressing for the introduction of a ban on carrying out US sanctions on Russian soil and did not rule out criminal liability for its breach.

At a Friday meeting with business representatives and expert circles during the discussion of a bill on countermeasures to fight US sanctions against Russia, the speaker "advocated introducing a ban on enforcing US sanctions on the territory of Russia," the Duma’s press office reported.

As the Duma speaker explained, "it would be right to introduce liability for those who will be guided by anti-Russian decisions of foreign states in their activity on the territory of Russia."

The lower house speaker also did not rule out "criminal liability" for that.

"In Russia, we must live according to Russian laws," Volodin stressed.

Latest US sanctions

On April 6, Washington imposed sanctions against seven major Russian businessmen, 17 officials and corporation heads, and also against 12 private companies and two state-run entities as a response to the Russian government’s alleged "malicious activity."

According to the US Treasury Department, the assets of all 24 people from Russia and 14 various organizations that fall under the US sanctions and under US jurisdiction will be frozen and American entities are banned from dealing with them. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has stated that Moscow will come up with a tough response to these US sanctions.

Russia’s countersanctions bill

The draft law "On Measures of Response (Counteraction) to Unfriendly Acts by the US and (or) Other Foreign States" was submitted on April 13 by the leaders of all the parliamentary factions and State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.

The bill was drafted as "a response measure to the challenges by the US and its officials as expressed in their unfriendly and non-constructive actions for imposing sanctions both against Russia as a whole and its citizens and legal entities," the document says in an explanatory note.

In compliance with the bill, the Russian government "is vested with the powers to introduce some measures of economic and political nature primarily aimed at making the US remove so-called unfriendly acts."

Potential countermeasures include a ban on the deliveries of pharmaceuticals, alcohol and tobacco, agricultural produce and industrial goods, technological equipment and software. Exemptions will only apply on imports into Russia from the US and other states supporting Washington’s sanctions policy "for the purposes of personal use."

The legislative initiative also envisages restrictions on cooperation in nuclear power engineering, the rocket and engine industry and aircraft-making. The bill stipulates blacklists of Americans who will be denied entry to Russia.

As the bill explains, the countermeasures will be introduced by the Cabinet of Ministers following a decision by the Russian head of state. A similar procedure is stipulated for lifting possible countermeasures.