U.S. Sanctions Bring Russia Closer To China

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Moscow promises to adopt countermeasures against Washington’s new sanctions that target a number of Russian defense companies. The Kremlin added that the countermeasures will not necessarily be ‘mirrored’.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry noted that the Americans are using the Ukrainian crisis and expanding sanction lists in order to make Russia behave ‘unacceptably’.

“Washington’s actions devalue its own signals on its interest in cooperation with us in solving a number of pressing international problems. It looks like the futility of attempts to put sanction pressure on us doesn’t teach the Washington strategists anything,” Foreign Ministry’s statement read.

The U.S. has recently announced a new batch of sanctions against a number of Russian defense firms. The Americans accuse the firms in violating the law of the Iran, North Korea and Syrian Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA).

Russia’s Foreign Ministry emphasized that the new sanctions will hit U.S. interests back.

“We emphasize that the U.S. should not cherish illusions regarding the possibility that it can continue this line without negative consequences for itself. We will take countermeasures, but not necessarily mirror [the U.S. expansion of sanction lists],” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement said.

Is U.S. annoyed with Russia’s stance on the global arena?

The ministry is also certain that it’s not bringing down intensities in hot spots that is moving Washington, but rather its annoyance with Russia’s stance on the global arena.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called the expansion of the ‘black list’ “another element in a series of hostile actions the U.S. has lately undertaken against Russia in various fields, including the military, economic, and visa ones.”

The ministry also noted the growing ‘unacceptable rhetoric’ coming from Washington, adding that this kind of strategy worries even U.S. allies.

The U.S. sanction list covers 23 foreign companies, including a few firms from Russia. U.S. ministries and departments cannot sign contracts with the companies that have been included into the list, or provide those companies with any support or help.

However, unlike previous Crimea- and Ukraine-related sanctions, the companies were included into this sanction list due to their involvement in delivering to Iran, North Korea and Syria goods, services and technologies that could contribute to the development of mass destruction weapons, according to the spokesman for U.S. embassy to Russia William Stevens.

Russia is officially a military enemy of Ukraine

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s national security council adopted a new military doctrine that declares Russia as a military opponent and takes a course to pursue NATO membership.

The Kremlin has not issued an immediate reaction. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s country has repeatedly denied claims that Russian troops are fighting alongside pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and that Russia is supplying military equipment to the rebels.

Meanwhile, deadly clashes took place at the Ukrainian parliament at the moment of approving constitutional changes put forward by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Constitutional changes include distribution of some powers to the regions, including war-torn eastern regions occupied by Russian rebels. Protestors claim that such changes would bring Ukraine to its knees before Russia.

The doctrine declaring Russia a military enemy is now on the way to the president for his signature. Speaking at the security council meeting, Poroshenko said the doctrine “not only officially establishes the Russian Federation as Ukraine’s military opponent, but states the task of relocating military units and creating the necessary military infrastructure in the eastern and southern regions.”

Vladimir Putin ‘honorable guest’ at China’s military parade

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin attended a military parade held in Beijing celebrating the 70th anniversary of Japan’s capitulation in World War II. An elite unit of Russia’s army took part in the parade, just like an elite unit of China’s army participated at the May 9 V-Day parade held in Moscow.

Only a few representatives of European countries attended the parade in Beijing, just like the Moscow’s parade four months ago. Leaders of the U.S. and Japan ignored the event in Beijing, while the only leader from the European Union that attended the parade was Czech Republic’s president Milos Zeman.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was eager to show his appreciation of Putin’s visit and allowed the Russian President to sit beside him as an honorable guest. The Chinese Foreign Ministry even called him ‘the most honorable guest of Chinese people’.

Due to the escalation in the relations between the West, Russia and China are eager to show the world that their partnership connects them not only because they share a similar sentiment toward the World War, but also because their stance on current global affairs is similar.

Putin’s visit to Beijing is a signal to the West that Russia and China aspire to an all-inclusive strategic partnership.

However, the refusal to attend the parade is not the only indication of the worsened relations between China and the West. According to The Washington Times, the U.S. government is preparing sanctions against Chinese companies that have allegedly been responsible for cyberattacks against U.S. entities.

U.S. is considering sanctioning Chinese hackers and firms

The U.S., having suffered major cyberattacks from foreign hackers, including one on the Pentagon in August, is considering imposing sanctions on Chinese individuals and firms within the next few weeks.

‘Within a few weeks’ means the sanctions would have been already in place before Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington in the second half of September. It may be planned specifically to coincide with the Chinese president’s visit, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier in August that U.S. President Barack Obama would raise a question about cyberespionage from China during the meeting between the two presidents.

Meanwhile, anti-cyber sanctions against Russia remain in place, which is why it’s not surprising that Beijing and Moscow are looking to deepen their bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation.

The vast majority of Russian population welcomes the warming relations with China. According to Russia’s Levada Center polling, nearly 80 percent of respondents view China positively.

Therefore, China is now at the second place in the list of ‘Russia’s friends’ after Belarus.

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