US Senate backs legislation to slap new sanctions on Russian Federation

Tillerson to Testify in House as Russia Sanctions Vote Nears

The new sanctions, passed by a 98-2 vote, was also so far one of the strongest USA congressional responses to alleged Russian meddling of the 2016 US presidential election.

However, the legislation also restricts the White House from easing sanctions without congressional approval, reports the Guardian.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed new sanctions on Iran and Russian Federation and put a limit on the White House's ability to roll back any Russian Federation sanctions.

The Senate bill also would cement in law a series of executive orders signed by Obama and aimed at punishing Russian Federation for aggressive behavior, including its 2014 annexation of Crimea and support for separatist rebels in Ukraine's east.

It also allows Congress to review any administration attempts to ease, suspend or end sanctions.

The measure would then apply new sanctions against Russian Federation for its activities in Syria, where the Kremlin is supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and for its meddling in last year's US presidential election.

It was introduced amid an intense focus in the USA capital on relations with Russian Federation, and investigations by the Department of Justice and congressional committees of whether Russian Federation sought to influence the 2016 elections to help elect Trump, and whether Trump associates colluded with Moscow as it sought to influence the election.

The Trump administration is reviewing the Senate measure, according to a White House official, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. "But I believe that these new sanctions could endanger the very important nuclear agreement that was signed between the United States, its partners and Iran in 2015". Rand Paul, R-Ky. and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. voting against it.

Mike Crapo, one of the sponsors of the legislation, says, "Americans are concerned about Russia's behavior in the Ukraine and Syria and they are concerned about Russia's increased cyber intrusions".

The second reaffirmed "the strategic importance of Article 5" in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the principle that an attack on one North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member is an attack on all members of the alliance.

The latest measure will be attached as an amendment to a larger bill that would see new sanctions imposed on Iran.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested Tuesday that the administration might oppose the Russian Federation sanctions amendment.

Democrats insisted that the Congress should also respond to Russia's aggressions, including its annexation of Ukraine, attacks in Syria and interference in the USA election.

Tillerson's urge came on the same day as the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan package of new Russian Federation sanctions.

"What I wouldn't want to do is close the channels off", Tillerson told a Senate committee.

For investors in Russia's energy and metals sectors, the U.S. Senate's bill to expand sanctions was a blow.

"Russia is still associated with Trump, with the mechanics of his election".

The Russia amendment include provisions to limit transactions and exports, put into law existing punishments laid out by the Obama administration and condemn the country's interventions in Ukraine and Syria.

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