U.S. Senate votes to toughen sanction against Russia
The United States Senate has approved an amendment that toughens sanctions against Russia, an Interfax correspondent has reported.
U.S. lawmakers voted 97-2. The point at issue is the amendment to the bill that originally foresaw pressure on Iran.
Speaking prior to the day of the vote, U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, said that "the Russians have largely learned to live within the economic confines of the existing sanctions regime."
In his words, "the legislation not only ratchets up pressure against the Russian Federation for its illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea, continuing escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine, and malign cyber activities against businesses and citizens of the United States, but it also importantly provides Congress with a strong oversight process over almost any termination or suspension of these sanctions."
"In summary, the Crapo-Brown-Corker-Cardin amendment does four things: It escalates and expands the current sanctions regime against Russia; It creates new sanctions against Russia; It engages Congress at a higher level than before by providing a mechanism for Congress to vote before lifting any sanctions on Russia; It increases the Treasury Department's ability to track illicit finance, including illicit flows linked to Russia," he said.
The amendment would sanction Russia for a variety of unlawful actions, including the annexation of Crimea and military aggression in eastern Ukraine and military involvement in Syria, as well as attempts to interfere with and influence the U.S. 2016 presidential election.
The sanctions suggest tightening existing measures against Russia. According to the wording of the amendment, U.S. companies and individuals will be banned from dealing with Russian banks in funding for longer than 14 days. Currently, the period is limited to 90 days.
In addition, it introduces restrictive measures for the energy sector. The document suggests limiting the duration of transactions for financing of Russian energy companies to 30 days.
The document also describes a new provision by which the U.S. president will not be able to weaken or cancel sanctions against Russia without the Congress's consent.
U.S. President Donald Trump will receive this document for signature after it is adopted by the Congress. For this, it must also be approved by the House of Representatives.