June 13, 2017

What Are The New Sanctions Approved on Monday Against Russia










 Senate leaders said they had reached an agreement late on Monday to approve new sanctions against Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election and for the country’s conduct in Ukraine and Syria, delivering a striking message to a foreign power that continues to shadow President Trump.

The bipartisan measure would place the White House in an uncomfortable position, arriving amid sweeping investigations into ties between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. The sanctions package would also cut against the administration’s stated aim to reshape the United States’ relationship with Russia after Mr. Trump took office.

In a statement released late Monday, the top Republican and Democratic senators on the Foreign Relations Committee and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs said the agreement would impose new sanctions and “provide for a mandated congressional review” if the White House sought to ease penalties unilaterally.

The new sanctions would be imposed upon “corrupt Russian actors,” people involved in human rights abuses, suppliers of weapons to the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria and people conducting “malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government,” among others.

The measure would also cement existing sanctions, including some affecting Russian energy projects, that were enacted as part of executive orders, the senators said.

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The agreement has the blessing of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader. In a statement, Mr. Schumer called the new sanctions “a powerful and bipartisan statement to Russia.”

Earlier this year, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson requested more time before new sanctions were put into place, hoping to improve a relationship with Moscow that he said had reached its lowest point in years.

Some Republicans, including Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, were initially inclined to give the administration space. But last month, Mr. Corker said he had seen “no difference whatsoever” in Russia’s conduct, noting its “work against our interest” in Syria.

He called on Mr. Tillerson to demonstrate progress with Russia in short order if the administration hoped to head off bipartisan sanctions legislation in the Senate.

On Monday, Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, suggested the president would face immense pressure not to stand in the way of a united congressional effort to punish Russia. “I’d be very, very surprised if the president vetoes this bill,” Mr. Cardin said before the deal was announced.

The measures are being considered with an Iran sanctions bill that is nearing passage in the Senate. That bill would impose the most sweeping sanctions against Iran since the United States and five other world powers, including Russia, reached a deal with Tehran in 2015 to sharply limit Iranian nuclear capability.
 


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