(National Sentinel) De-escalation: Russian President Vladimir Putin, his country’s economy battered by U.S.-imposed sanctions, appears ready to dial down tensions with the United States that reached a peak in recent days over Syria.
As reported by Bloomberg, U.S. sanctions have crippled an entire Russian industry and U.S.-led airstrikes last weekend in response for an alleged chemical attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad nearly brought the two nuclear powers to the brink of war.
Now, the Russian leader appears ready to give President Donald J. Trump another opportunity to make good on earlier pledges to improve ties between both countries and avoid further escalation of tension, according to four sources, Bloomberg reported, adding that one of them said the Kremlin has ordered Russian officials to tamp down anti-U.S. rhetoric.
The news service added:
Mr. Putin’s decision explains why lawmakers on Monday (April 16) suddenly pulled a draft law that would’ve imposed sweeping counter-sanctions on US companies, two of the people said.
The relatively limited nature of the weekend attacks on alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria, where Russia is backing government forces in a civil war, was seen as a positive sign in the Kremlin, considering Mr. Trump’s ominous tweets announcing missiles would soon be flying.
“Putin is ready to make numerous, deep concessions, but he has to appear like he’s not losing,” said Igor Bunin of the Center for Political Technologies, a consulting group whose clients include Kremlin staff.
“He understands Russia can’t compete with the West economically and he doesn’t plan to go to war with the West,” he added, as reported by Bloomberg.
Moscow is still figuring out how to deal with the economic impact of the most punitive measures the U.S. has imposed since first imposing sanctions nearly four years ago over Russia’s snatching of the Crimea and involvement in Ukraine.
The latest sanctions, which the Treasury Department called a response to Putin’s overall “malign activity,” also swept up one of Russia’s most powerful business leaders, billionaire Oleg Deripaska, hitting him the hardest.
Bloomberg noted further:
Shares of Mr Deripaska’s aluminium giant Rusal have plunged about 70 percent in Hong Kong since the U.S. basically banned the company from the dollar economy on April 6, erasing about US$6 billion (S$7.87 billion) of value and threatening 100,000 jobs at a time when Russia is limping out of its longest recession in two decades.
Mr Putin, who is due to be sworn in for what may be a final six-year term next month, is keen to avoid having another major company suffer a similar fate.
Still, it may be difficult for Trump to improve ties. Much of his administration and many in Congress want to keep up the pressure on a country they view as America’s No. 1 enemy.
Also, they are angry at Russia’s 2016 election meddling, which admittedly did not change the outcome of the election but which nonetheless represented a threat to the electoral process.
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