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'Kremlin Report' Publication Does Not Mean Sanctions Imposition – US Ambassador

© Sputnik / Anton Denisov / Go to the mediabankMoscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin - Sputnik International
The publication of the so-called "Kremlin report" in the United States, which may be released by January 29, does not mean the automatic imposition of new sanctions against Russia, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman told reporters Tuesday.

"As I understand, the deadline is on January 29. It’s not new sanctions. Some people are reporting about new sanctions, it’s not. This goes back to the legislation of six months ago. Nothing new," Huntsman said on the sidelines of the Gaidar Forum.

The ambassador also added that the release date of the report may change, stressing that there are no deadlines for a possible announcement of new sanctions.

READ MORE: Strengthening of Sanctions to Be Overwhelming Risk for Russia-US Ties — Kremlin

According to Bloomberg, some Russian businessmen tried to enlist the support of former officials of the US Treasury Department and the Department of State in order not to get on the sanctions list. One of the ex-employees of the State Department, Daniel Fried, told the agency that he rejected such offers.

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The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which was passed last year and imposed sanctions on North Korea, Iran and Russia, provides that within 180 days (deadline is January 29) the US Treasury, following consultations with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State, will present to the relevant congressional committees a report elaborating the potential effect of expansion of sanctions due to Russia's sovereign debt inclusion.

Within the same time period, the US Treasury must submit a report containing information on "the main figures of foreign policy and oligarchs," their status, relations with Vladimir Putin "and other members of the Russian ruling elite" and their affiliation with foreign legal entities. The Ministry of Finance should analyze the consequences of the possible imposition of sanctions against "Russian oligarchs" and state organizations.

The blacklist of high-ranking Russian officials may also become a headache for the US Treasury itself: among the heads of the agency, there is an opinion that it will be difficult to combine it with the current sanctions, Bloomberg notes.

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Firstly, the US Treasury wants some chapters of the report to remain classified, which the law allows. Secondly, the report will probably be presented in the form of an official letter signed by Sigal Mandelker, a senior official responsible for combating terrorism and financial monitoring, instead of releasing it through Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which usually issues sanctions.

According to American lawmakers, the way the report will be published will affect its scope and applicability, but Congress did not limit the Treasury in its choice of the form of the document or the grounds for including certain individuals.

READ MORE: Adidas CEO: Anti-Russia Sanctions 'Have Led to Loss of Many Jobs in the West'

Part of the report could become "evidence of corruption": lists with the names of "oligarchs" and their assets outside of Russia. Such documents will form the basis of further repressive measures against Russian citizens and organizations, lawyers say.

As a result, the "Kremlin report" may be an attempt to shame the Russian elites, but not to have a tangible impact on them, summarizes Bloomberg.

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