News / Economy

    Russia Appeals Western Sanctions to WTO

    FILE - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev addresses the State Duma in Moscow,  April 22, 2014.
    FILE - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev addresses the State Duma in Moscow, April 22, 2014.
    VOA News
    Moscow is challenging the sanctions imposed on it by the United States and European Union for its involvement in the Ukraine crisis.
     
    Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev said Friday that Russia has sent a "communique" to the World Trade Organization declaring the sanctions violate international law and WTO regulations, and he promised a formal complaint will follow.
     
    However, Medvedev said chances are slim that the Kremlin strategy will succeed because the United States has great influence at the WTO.

    A spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative said the United States took its obligations under the WTO very seriously.

    "Prior to instituting the sanctions against the Russian Federation, the United States carefully considered their consistency with WTO rules,'' he said.
     
    Also Friday, the United States added seven pro-Russia separatist leaders to its list of individuals and organizations subject to sanctions over the rebellion in Ukraine, the Treasury Department announced.
     
    The West imposed sanctions after the Kremlin annexed Crimea in March. Since then, the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations has considered strengthening the sanctions because of Russian actions seen as interference in Ukraine's internal affairs.
     
    The sanctions – aimed at business leaders and companies close to Russian President Vladimir Putin – include travel bans against individuals and other prohibitions against companies considered to play a role in economic and political pressure on Ukraine. Some Russian firms have been barred from accessing their assets held in the West, and the global credit companies Visa and MasterCard have suspended relations with Russian banks.
     
    Separatist leaders targeted
     
    The individuals added to the sanctions list Friday include:
     
    - Valery Bolotov, self-described governor of the separatist-controlled Luhansk region;   
     
    - Igor Girkin, so-called defense minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic;
     
    - Valery Kaurov, an Odessa protest leader and "president of Novorossiya" or New Russia;
     
    - Sergei  Menyailo, a former Russian military officer and acting governor of Sevastopol, a port city in Crimea;   
     
    - Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, whose assorted titles include the former self-proclaimed "people’s mayor" of the town of Slovyansk;
     
    - Andrey Purgin, a leader of the council running Donetsk’s separatist government;
     
    - Denis Pushilin, a leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
     
    Economic analysts say the Western sanctions have driven Russia's economy to the brink of recession. Reuters reports the Russian government has begun to tap a multibillion-dollar welfare fund intended to finance a growing deficit in state-provided pensions. President Vladimir Putin previously last year that the "national welfare fund," built up from windfall oil revenues, would not be used for other purposes.

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    Comments
         
    by: Mikhail from: Bloody Russia
    June 28, 2014 3:12 PM
    Well, actually we are not afraid of so-called sanctions. "average people" have nothing to loose, believe me. Our renumeration is so "big" that we don't use those plastic cards. We still take cash. Sanctions are the games between a couple of men, it's their own business.

    And thank you. You are so afraid of Russia that you wish us revolution, more sanctions, EVEN MOAR SANCTIONS!!!11oneone We're ok with that. It's really nice to read such comments. I will feel extremely comfortable next time I visit Washington in my red-blue-white T-shirt. Or even better in my USSR T-shirt.

    "the dogs bark, but the caravan goes on"

    by: Michaelcald from: odessa ukraine
    June 23, 2014 10:54 AM
    Wait a minute, is this the same Russia that publicly made jokes about sanctions ? Now they are begging the WTO to help them ? Are these the same Russians that are allowing arms shipments to cross the border into Ukraine ? Is this the same Russia that harbors criminals including murders to hide in their country ?

    Mr Putin, you have lost the respect of so many world leaders at a faster pace than anyone i have ever seen before. Mr Putin you have told so may lies that NO ONE, believes you. I cannot understand you Mr Putin, Ukraine has nothing, maybe you are playing the market and selling short ?? I am sure you are doing that to add to the billions that you already have. Take your sanctions and live with them, you created it and you were given fair warning and I personally saw you making jokes.

    There will be a revolution in Russia in the next 18 months. Mr Putin the people are tired of you and your inflated numbers. People are losing thousands of dollars (average people ) and your personal friends are losing BILLIONS !!! Crimea will cost you and Russia more than you have ever dreamed possible !!! Crimea cost Ukraine billions every year and you did a favor by taking it. There are no tourist in Crimea, the beaches are empty, the farm market is dead as there is no water. What is land worth without water ?? TAKE YOUR SANCTIONS AND LIVE WITH THEM !!!!!
    In Response

    by: Mikhail
    June 28, 2014 3:13 PM
    by: Michaelcald from: odessa ukraine

    Nuff said

    by: Steve Hubbard from: Washington DC
    June 21, 2014 6:24 PM
    Nobody wants a direct conventional war with Russia, even Russia does not want that. But do not stop turning the screws ever so tightly on all of Russia's fingers. Putin will back off. No doubt with Visa and MasterCard turning off the faucet, Russia will for sure not try to acquire any more sovereign territory that is not theirs. A true recession suffered by Russia will come back to haunt Putin for a long time to come and even his closest inner circle of political allies will talk behind his back about his craziness to which even the German Chancellor said she thought Putin him to be.

    by: Cayman
    June 21, 2014 3:02 PM
    Russia is playing the game on USA rules! As they used to solve all disputes in court Russia is appeal to go there to make USA pay for non-observance of the terms of the agreement.
    If the USA want to put Russia into sanctions they should to make it legitimately and not like they usually doing all their dirty stuff!


    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Abeokuta Nigeria
    June 21, 2014 11:56 AM
    Triple the sanctions on Putin and his associates and double the sanctions on Russian firms to send a strong message.

    by: Donald Fraser Miles from: Elliot Lake, Canada
    June 20, 2014 6:32 PM
    Sanctions indicate the cost at the minimum of a worst case scenario that military action can cost a nation. Russia would be well advised to return to the use of legal agreement means of achieving their political objectives. The effective use of legal channels of conflict resolution brings protection from the type of economic hardship Russia Is now experiencing. Russia can bring an end to the sanctions if it normalizes its state to state relationship with Ukraine. This means demilitarization. The purpose of any military is to wage war for self-defence of one's national territory. It does not encompass political self-defence. That must be obtained through political and legal negotiation and agreements. The world can learn a lesson from this. Economic and social disaster will befall regions which wage war for reasons other than necessity for self-protection from military attack. It is insufficient to point to a hypothetical threat such as expansion of NATO. That problem can be dealt with on the political and legal level.

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