U.S. Says Direct Sanctions against Aeroflot Not Planned

A high ranking official of the U.S. State Department said on Thursday the United States will not impose direct sanctions against Russian airline company Aeroflot, TASS reports.

The statement comes after a provision calling for sanctions against the Russian flagship carrier was included in a bill being prepared in Congress.

The official, speaking at a telephone briefing for European journalists, organized by the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, said the sanctions will apply to export of national security sensitive control items to Russian state owned or state funded companies.

The official said that the sanctions will apply to Aeroflot “to the degree that Aeroflot is a Russian state owned or state funded company and to the degree that anyone applies for an export license to supply goods that are controlled under this system to Aeroflot.”

“Then I suppose this will fall under the presumption of denial,” the official said.

“But whatever or not that happens is really dependent on whatever or not anyone in fact applies for an export license. So it is not a direct sanction, none of these would be directed against Aeroflot,” he added.

The Washington administration earlier said it was imposing sanctions on Russia as of August 22 over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in British Salisbury, on March 4. According to the U.S. Department of State, the American authorities are going to decide on unveiling the second package of sanctions against Moscow in 90 days’ time depending on whether it fulfils a number of conditions.

The second part of sanctions (labelled by the head of the briefing as “draconian”) in particular includes a threat of depriving planes of any Russian state airline of the right to land in the U.S.

Russia has repeatedly refuted allegations concerning its involvement in the case. The Russian embassy in the United States said in a statement that so far no evidence of Russia’s involvement in poisoning of the Skripals had been provided.