Indias purchase of S-400 Triumf from Russia may invite sanctions

Cheryl Sanders
September 21, 2018

On Thursday, the US State Department said Chinese purchases of SU-35 aircraft and S-400 surface-to-air missiles breached a US sanctions law targeting Russian Federation over its alleged meddling in the 2016 US election and actions in Ukraine.

"The Chinese side expresses strong indignation over the above-mentioned unreasonable practices of the USA side", Geng said at the regular MFA regular press briefing.

China is expressing outrage over US sanctions against a Chinese military agency and its director over the purchase of Russian weapons.

All of them - defence related firms, officers of the GRU military intelligence agency, and people associated with the Saint Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency disinformation group - have been on previous United States sanctions lists and 28 of them have already been indicted by Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian Federation election meddling.

China's foreign ministry demanded the USA cancel the measure, as Moscow also lambasted the sanctions and warned that the Trump administration was "playing with fire".

"The US actions have seriously violated the basic principles of global relations and seriously damaged the relations between the two countries and the two militaries", Geng said.

In addition, they will be excluded from the USA financial system and denied export licenses.

Being added to the blacklist does not immediately trigger sanctions, but anyone dealing with a blacklisted person or entity could be liable to punitive measures under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (Caatsa) passed by Congress in 2017.

US President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Thursday meant to allow the sanctions to be implemented.

The US has sanctioned China's Equipment Development Department (EDD), a wing of Chinese military responsible for weapons and equipment, and its director, Li Shangfu, for realizing any contract with Russia's arms exporter.

Peskov called the new sanctions hostile and unpredictable, but did not say how Russian Federation would respond.

The sanctions freeze any of EDD's and Li's assets in United States jurisdictions.

"The ultimate target of these sanctions is Russian Federation". However, under strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it has more recently grown closer to Russian Federation - including ordering the very same S-400s that landed China in hot water this week.

China relies less on large big-ticket purchases from Russian Federation, but Chinese defense industries are seeking expertise from Russian Federation and former-Soviet states to plug knowledge gaps, he said.

Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan are shown in Sochi earlier this month.

Administration officials said they hoped the action against EDD would send a message to others considering buying the S-400.

The official declined to answer if the U.S. would take similar action if Russian Federation delivers S400 missiles to other countries such as Turkey, which is in talks to buy them.

"It imported Russia's S-400 anti-aircraft missile system for the same reason - the PLA's Rocket Force wants to replace all of its Hongqi defence systems". It can target stealth warplanes, such as the Pentagon's latest F-35 fighter jet.

"We hope that at least this step will send a signal of our seriousness and perhaps encourage others to think twice about their own engagement with the Russian defence and intelligence sectors", another USA official said.

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