The United States has imposed a further round of sanctions on Russia in connection with the determination in August 2018 that Russia has utilized chemical weapons in the “Skripal attack” in violation of the US Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act (CBW). The limited first round of sanctions, imposed in August 2018, restricted US Government financial assistance to Russia, as well imposed export controls on US-origin items subject to national security controls. Significant waivers were granted simultaneously by the US Government.
On August 1, 2019, the Executive Branch imposed the second round of sanctions. Under the CBW, the Executive is supposed to impose three of the following six possible sanctions:
1. Oppose multilateral development bank assistance to Russia.
2. Prohibit US bank loans to the Russian government.
3. Prohibit all US exports to Russia (except food and agriculture).
4. Impose restrictions on the import of Russian goods.
5. Downgrade or suspend diplomatic relations.
6. Suspend the entry of foreign air carriers owned by the Russian government.
The US Executive Branch selected the first three sanctions, but utilized its broad waiver authority to limit the sanctions for the latter two, as follows:
a. The US will oppose the extension of any loan or financial or technical assistance to Russia by international financial institutions, such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. (No waiver.)
b. The prohibition on US bank loans is limited to participation by a US bank in the primary market for non-ruble bonds issued by, or loans to, the Russian government, not including state-owned enterprises and not including the secondary market.
c. The prohibition on US exports to Russia has been limited only to those dual-use items that are controlled for chemical or biological warfare reasons, but licensing will be available for US firms fulfilling contracts with Russian customers.
The sanctions will take effect on or around August 19, 2019, and they will remain in place for a minimum of 12 months. The sanctions can be lifted after this 12-month period if the Executive Branch determines and certifies to Congress that Russia has met several conditions, including providing reliable assurances that:
1. it is not making preparations to use chemical weapons;
2. it will not use chemical weapons in the future; and
3. it has paid restitution to the victims of the Skripal attack.