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US Defense Sec calls for sanction waivers for some buyers of Russian defense gear

These waivers will allow the countries that currently buy Russian defense products to build a closer security relationship with the US, James Mattis said

WASHINGTON, July 21. /TASS/. US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo should have the power to authorize waivers from sanctions for some of the countries purchasing Russian defense equipment, Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a statement on Friday.

The punitive measures for the countries purchasing Russian products are stipulated in the Counter America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act [CAATSA], which the US legislators passed last year.

"However, as we impose necessary and well-deserved costs for their [Russia’s] malign behavior, providing the Secretary of State with a CAATSA waiver authority is imperative," Mattis said.

These waivers will allow the countries that currently buy Russian defense products "to build a closer security relationship with the US as they continue to transition from reliance on Russian military equipment", he said

From Mattis’s point of view, the cornerstone question is whether the US would like to strengthen "partners in key regions or to leave them with no other option than to turn to Russia."

US Congress passed the law on tightening the grip of sanctions on Russia, Iran and the DPRK last summer. It enables the US authorities to impose restrictive measures on the customers of Russian defense products in case they make large deals with Russia.

CAATSA does not specify volume of such deals making them liable to sanctions and the Department of State is expected to take a decision in each specific case.

US Administration officials have come up with the claims they have managed to hamper Russia’s deals with foreign customers worth several billion dollars.