Senators agree to additional Russia sanctions

Senators agree to additional Russia sanctions

The Senate late Monday evening unveiled a package of additional economic sanctions on Russian Federation, aiming to punish Moscow for its military activities in Europe and the Middle East as well as its alleged attempts to interfere in democratic elections across the West.

The agreement, which passed through the Senate's Banking and Foreign Relations Committees, would add new and tougher sanctions against the Russian government for the invasion of Crimea in 2014, its cyber warfare campaign during the presidential campaign a year ago, and its support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Sen. Bob Corker (R. -Tenn.) announced on Monday that he and his colleagues had agreed on a policy that would require that plans to lift sanctions be reviewed by Congress. The bipartisan deal also would impose new sanctions on multiple sectors of the Russian economy, including on "individuals conducting malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government", according to a summary released Monday night by Senate negotiators in both parties.

The legislation is expected to be attached as an amendment to an unrelated bill involving sanctions on Iran.

US senators will consider a bill stipulating the expansion of sanctions against Russian Federation this week.

Senators also cited Russia's 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea as well as Russia's ongoing military operations in Syria as a reason for additional sanctions.

A procedural vote on the Russian Federation sanctions is expected on Wednesday and the measure is expected to receive strong bipartisan support. Codifying in law existing sanctions imposed by executive order is another way of depriving Trump of discretion. Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Foreign Relations Committee's ranking Democrat, Benjamin L. Cardin (Md.), Banking Committee ranking Democrat Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and vocal Russian Federation critics John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) were also involved in various stages of the discussion.

A source in Capitol Hill hinted that the White House is not opposed to Congress moves to scale through the bill, in spite of varying signals from #President Trump and his administration, the source said.

The fresh sanctions would also see Russian mining, metals, shipping and railways affected, with the Senate also planning on putting into law some previous sanctions touching Russian energy projects and debt financing.

The Iran bill is due come up for a vote as soon as this week.

President Trump had said in January he would be open to lifting sanctions on Moscow if they assisted the United States fight extremism and Terrorism. The review language would be structured "much like we did in other places", such as the 2015 legislation that required former President Barack Obama to submit his administration's nuclear pact with Iran to Congress, Corker said.

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