The Russian website Ukraina.ru declared this week that the White House has announced its sanctions policy against Russia to be a failure. In an article entitled “State Department clarifies its position on Ukraine after Trump victory” the site quotes White House spokesman Josh Earnest out of context and creates the impression that the US is admitting defeat in its sanction policy.

Website screenshot ukraina.ru

Website screenshot ukraina.ru

Ukraina.ru’s claim appears to be based on an October story from the Russian site Lenta.ru about the alleged ineffectiveness of sanctions in which Earnest is quoted as saying that sanctions have not yet achieved the desired result, but they are having an effect on Russia’s economy.

Website screenshot lenta.ru

Website screenshot lenta.ru

During an October 6 briefing (starting at 22:06) Josh Earnest explains that while the sanctions have not forced Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty they are having an impact:

“The situation in Ukraine is obviously the best example where the United States has been able to work effectively with our European allies to impose tough sanctions against Russia. Of course I’d be among the first to point out that the sanctions we have imposed on Russia in concert with our European allies as result of Russia’s actions in Ukraine have not yet achieved the desired result. We haven’t yet seen a change in strategy on the part of the Russians that we’d like to see in Ukraine. We haven’t yet seen them indicate their clear respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. But we do know that those sanctions have had an impact on Russia’s economy. Russia is paying the price for their actions inside of Ukraine and that price is one that they have to pay because of the ability of the United States to work effectively with our European partners to impose those costs.”

Website screenshot @The White House

Website screenshot @The White House

Earnest reiterated this US position at a later October 21 briefing during which he said that financial sanctions “are most effective when implemented in careful coordination with US allies and partners around the world”.