US Treasury Admits Russian Economy Too Large for Iran-Style Sanctions


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has criticized what he called Washington’s “sanctions-first” approach to diplomacy, adding that Russia can see through US attempts to use restrictions as a bargaining chip.

US sanctions against Russia are limited to individuals and businesses, instead of economic sectors, because the Russian economy is simply too large and well-integrated into the world economy to do otherwise, Marshall Billingslea, assistant secretary for terrorist financing, has told lawmakers.

“Russia stands apart from other countries subject to broad US sanctions in several important ways, and we have tailored our approach accordingly,” Billingslea said in testimony before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade on Wednesday.

“We cannot, for example, counter Russian aggression in the same way we approach countries like North Korea or Iran. Russia’s economy is large and well-integrated into the global economy, international financial system, and global supply chains,” the official lamented. “North Korea and Iran, on the other hand, have been largely or almost entirely isolated from the global financial system for decades,” he added. 

According to Billingslea, the Treasury has instead “surgically deployed” certain tools “to maximize pressure on Russia while minimizing unintentional spillovers to the United States, our European allies, and the global economy.”


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