23 September 2014

[230914.EN.SEA] Ukraine: Washington Bans Russian Companies, Moscow Mulls Overflight Ban

The US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has announced additional steps to restrict trade with Russia in response to Russia's continued military intervention in the Ukraine.

But in response, to "stupid¡¨ sanctions, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia signalled it might ban Western airlines from flying over its territory, Reuters reports.

The Americans have now banned dealing with Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern Main System Design Bureau, a defence industry complex; Tikhomirov Scientific Research Institute of Instrument Design, weapons control system specialists; Mytishchinski Mashinostroitelny Zavod, ordnance specialists; Kalinin Machine Plant, military machine maker and Dolgoprudny Research Production Enterprise, a military product developer.

In addition, BIS now requires licences "with the presumption of denial" to export, re-export for or to the Gazprom conglomerate; Gazpromneft, oil and gas producers; the Lukoil petroleum giant; Rosneft, another petroleum giant and Surgutneftegas, an oil and gas concern.

This move follows a European Union initiative to add 24 people to its travel ban list, reported American Shipper.

Said BIS: "Today's actions are being announced in conjunction with an announcement by the US Treasury that it is also imposing a new set of targeted prohibitions and designations against a range of Russian entities," the agency said.

Said Mr Medvedev: ¡§If there are further restrictions on Russia's financial sector, we will have to respond asymmetrically. If Western carriers have to bypass our airspace, this could drive many struggling airlines into bankruptcy."

He said Russia would delay imposing new sanctions to give Moscow time to show it was resolving the Ukraine conflict, the European Union said it would press ahead with implementing the new measures.

An EU diplomat said Russia's top oil producers and pipeline operators Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom Neft were on its list of state-owned firms that would not be allowed to raise capital or borrow on European markets.

A shaky ceasefire in the Ukraine has done little to convince some Western countries that Russia is committed to resolving the conflict in which 3,000 have been killed.

Russia's ban on food imports from the EU, United States, Canada and Norway would also help Russia, said Mr Medvedev adding it would encourage farmers and induce consumers to buy Russian produce.

Source : HKSG.

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