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Russia thinks harsh sanctions imposed on its banking sector are illegal

Sanctions are preventing Russian service suppliers from exercising their trading rights fairly, a trade delegation has said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Image: AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

RUSSIA HAS ACCUSED the United States of breaching the rules of global commerce by slapping sanctions on its banking sector over the Ukraine crisis.

Sources familiar with the talks said Moscow used a regular, closed-door meeting of the World Trade Organization’s Council for Trade in Services, which covers cross-border commerce in areas including banking, finance and insurance, to criticise Washington’s recent actions over Ukraine.

Moscow’s trade delegation said Washington’s sanctions are preventing Russian service suppliers from exercising their trading rights fairly and therefore put them at a disadvantage in the global economy, the sources said.

The United States hit back, saying that it took its WTO obligations seriously and had assessed its sanctions package carefully to ensure it did not break the rules.

Washington’s stance was backed by the European Union’s trade delegates.

Brussels’ own sanctions against Russia did not come under attack by Moscow at the meeting, sources said.

Neither the US nor Russian delegation made reference to specific companies during the meeting, though Moscow said that one bank has been particularly affected, without naming it.

Rossiya Bank

On Tuesday Washington said that Rossiya Bank, which is linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, had lost €720 million in deposits since March and was forced to sell $500 million (360 million euros) in bonds to maintain liquidity.

The US Treasury said its measures — imposed over the escalating unrest in eastern Ukraine which is blamed on Moscow’s meddling — had taken a toll on the Russian economy and warned more measures were possible.

The sanctions have so far stimulated heavy capital flight from Russia and plunged growth to near zero, it said, threatening to impose more if Moscow did not stop interfering in Ukraine and supporting pro-Russia separatists.


Meanwhile, a US warship arrived has arrived in Georgia’s port of Batumi, the US embassy said, sending a message of support to NATO allies amid the spiralling crisis in neighbouring Ukraine.

The USS Taylor’s “presence in Georgia reaffirms the United States’ commitment to strengthening ties with NATO allies and partners like Georgia, while working toward mutual goals of promoting peace and stability in the region,” the embassy said in a statement.

© – AFP 2014

Read: Russia: We’ve pulled back from Ukraine border. US: No you haven’t >

More: Rise of fascism in Ukraine ‘is being ignored by Europe’ >

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