U.S. Publishes DASKAA Bill, Designed for More Sanctions on Russia

The website of the U.S. Congress has published the latest draft of a new bill targeting Russia with additional sanctions, Unian reported.

The bipartisan bill was introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham, Bob Menendez, the late John McCain, and others. The bill, “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019” (DASKAA), introduced for deliberation in the Senate on February 13, targets multiple sectors of the Russian economy, and, perhaps most significantly, imposes a ban on operations with Russian sovereign debt.

Specifically, the bill prohibits “United States persons from engaging in transactions with, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in” Russian sovereign debt, defined as “bonds issued by the Central Bank, the National Wealth Fund, or the Federal Treasury of the Russian Federation, or agents or affiliates of any of these entities, with a maturity of more than 14 days,” and other instruments with a duration of over 14 days, denominated either in rubles or in foreign currency. If passed, the ban would enter force “90 days,” according to the document.

The news comes as another blow to global investors, who have come to view Russian sovereign debt as a stable, steady source of income over the years.

Last year, a study by the Russia-based Analytical Credit Rating Agency (ACRA) found that American citizens and institutions held some 719 billion rubles (or $10.7 billion) worth of Russian sovereign debt or close to 8 percent of total Russian public debt issuance.

Earlier this month, credit rating agency Moody’s upgraded Russia’s sovereign debt rating from Ba1 to Baa3, saying the move “reflects the positive impact of policies enacted in recent years to strengthen Russia’s already robust public finance and external metrics and reduce the country’s vulnerability to external shocks including fresh sanctions.” Before that, Fitch and S&P issued positive outlook ratings for Russia’s public credit rating, citing a strong balance sheet and prudent fiscal strategy.