Exclusive: U.S. senators to again try to pass Russia sanctions bill

By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republican and Democratic senators on Wednesday will introduce a bill seeking to punish Russia for meddling in U.S

Reuters February 14, 2019 02:07:01 IST
Exclusive: U.S. senators to again try to pass Russia sanctions bill

Exclusive US senators to again try to pass Russia sanctions bill

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republican and Democratic senators on Wednesday will introduce a bill seeking to punish Russia for meddling in U.S. elections and for its aggression in Ukraine by imposing sanctions on its banking, energy sector and foreign debt.

The bill will be introduced by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and is a tougher version of the one the two lawmakers backed last year but which failed to pass, Menendez's office said. The bill has been seen by Reuters.

Among other things, it would impose sanctions on Russian banks that support efforts to interfere in foreign elections, sanction Russian liquefied natural gas projects outside of Russia, sanction the country's cyber sector, impose sanctions on new sovereign debt and sanction individuals deemed to "facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin."

The bill would have to pass Congress and be signed by President Donald Trump before becoming law. Trump has gone along with increasing sanctions on Russia, though sometimes reluctantly.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and Moscow's possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Russia has denied interfering in the election and Trump has called Mueller's probe a witch hunt.

Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Congress wanted action to respond to the humanitarian disaster in Syria, where Russia backs President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow's aggression in Ukraine "and the steady erosion of international norms."

"One thing is increasingly clear: Moscow will continue to push until it meets genuine resistance," Menendez told Reuters.

Graham, a leading Republican congressional foreign policy voice is a Trump ally who called last year's legislation "the sanctions bill from hell." He said he was determined to send a strong message to Moscow.

"Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin's Russia," Graham said in an email to Reuters. "He should cease and desist meddling in the U.S. electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria."

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Paul Simao)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.