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  • (L-R) Dmitry Medvedev, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, and President Vladimir Putin walk before a session of the State Duma.

    (L-R) Dmitry Medvedev, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, and President Vladimir Putin walk before a session of the State Duma. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 May 2018

Counter sanctions include barring imports from and state contracting with the U.S. and other unfriendly states.  

The Russian State Duma, or lower house of the Federal Assembly, approved Tuesday a counter-sanctions law against the United States and other unfriendly states restricting imports and cooperation.

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Counter sanctions include barring U.S. companies from contracting with the state and from participating in the privatization of state property, halting cooperation with unfriendly states and organizations controlled by them or affiliated with them, and banning or limiting imports of goods and raw materials from the U.S. and other unfriendly states.

The law doesn’t apply to essential supplies that are not produced in Russia or friendly countries or to goods that Russian or foreigners take with them for personal use.

Russian lawmakers promised a “painful” response after the U.S. imposed sweeping sanctions in April against some of Russia’s biggest firms and businessmen alleging Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. elections.

On April 6 the U.S. government placed financial restrictions on 38 Russian citizens and public and private companies, among them arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Rusal aluminum company, Russian industrial conglomerate Russian Machines, Basic Element diversified industrial group, and auto company GAZ.

"The federal law is aimed at protecting the interests and safety of Russia, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens, from unfriendly actions by the U.S. and other states, which may take the form of political and economic sanctions on Russia, Russian citizens and legal entities," the document reads.

The bill will be sent to the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, and later to the president who will sign it into law. It will become effective once it is officially published.

The original bill threatened to restrict imports of U.S. goods including medicines and agricultural goods but it has removed language targeting specific goods fearing the impact on Russian consumers and industries.

The legislative is also considering a law to punish businesses and individuals who comply with U.S. sanctions.

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