Russia ‘can’t beat US in trade war,’ but could hurt Washington elsewhere (or team up with China)

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Labeled “draconian” by both sides, the White House sanctions over Russia’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of the Skripals in the UK in March will be applied in two steps. On August 22, an initial restriction on exports of security-sensitive goods will come into force and, unless Russia assures the US that it has stopped using chemical weapons (which it denies in the first instance), more severe restrictions will be introduced 90 days later. These include a potential moratorium on national carrier flights to the United States and an almost complete import ban.

READ MORE: Russia to treat further US sanctions as an open declaration of economic war – PM

Dmitry Medvedev on Friday promised a “political and economic reaction,” but what can Russia do?

Respond in kind, or go asymmetrical?

Gilbert Doctorow, a Brussels-based Russian affairs analyst, says that the US, particularly with the second proposed round, is threatening to “go for the jugular” in a way it has not during any of the previous acts of sanction dating back to the Crimea secession in 2014. Which means that Russia’s response has to be more than symbolic.

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