Russia could ban US imports

McDonald's in Moscow.
McDonald's in Moscow. Photo credit: Reuters

Russia's lower house of parliament is to consider draft legislation that would give the Kremlin powers to ban or restrict a list of US imports, reacting to new US sanctions on a group of Russian tycoons and officials.

Senior lawmakers in the State Duma, which is dominated by Kremlin loyalists, said they had prepared the list ranging from food and alcohol to medicine and consulting services in response to Washington's move last week.

The Kremlin itself has not said if it backs the draft legislation - which would allow the government to impose the measures should the need arise - and it was not clear if would it become law in its current form.

Large-scale restrictions on US goods and services would hurt American firms but could also cause significant disruption in Russia, where consumers flock to McDonald's restaurants, fly on vacation in Boeing jets, and use Apple phones.

The draft law, according to a text seen by Reuters, is aimed at protecting Russia's interests and security in the face of "unfriendly and unlawful acts by the United States of America and other foreign states".

Russian currency and stock markets, preoccupied with the threat of US military action in Syria and the fallout from Washington's new sanctions, did not react to the draft legislation.

It is to be discussed in the lower house next week.

The proposed measures are in retaliation for the White House's imposition of the toughest set of sanctions on Russia since Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014, which dragged relations to their lowest point since the Cold War.

Moscow reacted then with counter-sanctions banning a wide range of food imports from Western countries.

Reuters