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19 June 2017, 02:34 | Opal Carroll
Mike Lee, R-Utah, voted against the Russian Federation amendment, claiming it was "not effective at addressing problems in the U.S. -Russia relationship." Sen.
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.
Thursday's legislationlevies new sanctions against Russian entities related to corruption, arms sales to the Syrian Bashar al-Assad regime, human rights abuses, and "malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government". This massive project, which would link Russia to Germany while bypassing Ukraine, would double the Russian natural-gas company Gazprom's capacity to move oil directly into Europe and make the Continent even more dependent on Russian resources.
The Senate voted 98-2 Thursday to pass a bill that would enact new sanctions against Russian Federation and require the White House to secure congressional approval before lifting any current sanctions, Reutersreported Thursday.
Under President Obama, top White House officials warned that sanctions would be unsafe to the legitimacy of the nuclear deal signed with Iran.
Finally, it provides that no sanctions can be lifted by the President without Congressional review.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that new U.S. sanctions on Russia will damage ties between the two countries.
However, they could not predict if it would come up for a final vote before lawmakers leave Washington at the end of July for their summer recess.
The House has yet to take up the measure, which is an amendment to a bill that tightens sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile tests.
During the hearing Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson urged senators to oppose the measure so that Trump and his administration would have "the flexibility to turn the heat up" if necessary. Also included in the bill is an amendment strengthening sanctions for Russian officials who support cyberattacks against the US and its allies.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the author of the bill, told reporters he hoped President Donald Trump would "acknowledge" the near-unanimous support among senators for tougher actions against Iran and Russian Federation.
- Allow broad new sanctions on key sectors of Russia's economy, including mining, metals, shipping and railways. Republican Senator Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, were the only two "no" votes. However, the bill would be widely expected to pass with a veto-proof majority.
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