US Eases Sanctions Against Russia

Just moments ago, when reporting on the latest Putin comment involving the recent flaring up of violence in Eastern Ukraine, we said that "the biggest question remains unanswered: what side of the Ukraine-Russian conflict will the new US State Department under Rex Tillerson side with, and will Trump slam the alleged Russian violence as his predecessor was so quick to do on virtually every single occasion."

We may have just gotten the answer, because moments ago the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, under Rex Tillerson, posted a Russia-related general license notice on its website, according to which US authorities eased sanctions against Russia’s Federal Security Service - the successor agency to the USSR's KGB - pertaining to licenses and permits for information technology products in Russia.

According to the license, "all transactions and activities" with participation of the Russian Federal Security Service, prohibited earlier by executive orders of the US President, are authorized with certain exceptions. Also related to “transactions necessary and ordinarily incident to comply with rules and regulations administered by, and certain actions or investigations involving, the FSB,” according to Treasury website.

Cited by Tass, Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has declined to make a statement on the United States’ decision.

"First we need to understand what it is all about," Peskov said. "If we turn to the rocket engines matter, we will see that our US counterparts never impose sanctions that could damage their own interests."

While this initial de-escalation of sanctions against Russia may or may not give John McCain an aneurysm, it will certainly lead to a vocal outcries by Democrats and the media against Rex Tillerson - whose proximity to Putin is well-known - and of course, president Trump, accusing them of immediately going soft on Russia, and leading to even further sanctions elimination between the US and Russia, thus alienating Europe, whose relations with Moscow remain as icy as anything observed under the Obama administration.

The full Treasury general license notice is below (link).