Friday 21 October 2016

US, EU Sanctions Affecting Russian Economy: White House

Lalit K Jha, Washington

The Russian economy is feeling the impact of the American and European sanctions, the White House has said while alleging that Moscow continues to aid Ukrainian separatists.

"We have over the longer term seen a range of data to indicate that there is an economic impact that's being felt by the Russian economy," White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, told reporters, adding, there are a range of indications that highlight the impact that this sanction regime has had on the economy.

"We've seen the Central Bank of Russia spend billions of dollars to try to shore up the strength of their currency. We've seen a pretty large increase in capital flight from Russia. There are concerns about whether or not that is among the investor community about whether or not that's a safe place to try to invest some money," he said yesterday.

"We have seen a lot of the impartial international evaluators of the health of the Russian economy revise down their projections for economic growth in Russia," he said. However, this has had not any impact on the actions of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

"In terms of its impact on the calculus of the Putin regime, as it relates to their activities in Ukraine, we have not seen the kinds of actions that we would like to see," he said.

"We would like to see Russia not engage in the kind of destabilising activities along the Ukraine border that have led to that escalating conflict. We would like to see them use their influence with the Russian separatists to abide by a cease-fire agreement and pursue a diplomatic resolution.

"We'd like to see the Russians take the necessary steps to close their border to the transfer of heavy weapons. But we haven't seen the kinds of concrete steps that we'd like to see," Earnest said.

Russia continues to "support and assist" the Ukrainian separatists, State Department Spokesperson, Jen Psaki alleged.

"We do continue to see evidence that Russia is supplying the separatists with arms, material, and training. Russians intend to deliver heavier, more powerful multiple rocket launchers to the separatist forces in Ukraine," she said.

"Since the shoot down of the MH17, multiple rocket launcher activity there has been multiple rocket launcher activity at a Russian site in southwest Russia. That has continued, and multiple rocket launchers continue to depart and return to this site at irregular intervals," she said.

The US, she said, is deeply concerned by Russia's plan to conduct a large military aviation exercise this week in areas bordering Ukraine.

"Exercises of this kind are provocative and only serve to escalate tensions," she said.

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