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U.S. officials threaten more economic pain if Russia does not change

Washington is prepared to impose more economic pain on Russia if it does not change its behavior, Trump administration officials told a Senate hearing on Tuesday, as U.S. lawmakers pushed for stronger measures to counteract what they see as “malign” Russian activities. U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he would like better ties with Moscow, but although he met Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, relations between the two countries have come under further strain as Washington has imposed new sanctions.

U.S. lawmakers have called for even more action – including what one senator called a new sanctions package “from hell” – to punish Russia for actions including its annexation of Crimea, involvement in the Syrian civil war and what U.S. intelligence agencies describe as cyberattacks seeking to influence U.S. elections.

Moscow has repeatedly denied attempting to influence U.S. elections, including the 2016 presidential vote that brought Trump into office. At a separate Senate hearing on Tuesday, Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell told the Foreign Relations Committee that concern about sanctions has cost Russia $8 to $10 billion in arms deals. Separately on Tuesday, the Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on two Russians, one Russian company and one Slovakian firm for what it said were their actions to help another Russian company avoid sanctions targeting Russia’s malicious cyber-related activities. The United States also announced sanctions on two Russian shipping companies and six vessels it said were involved in the transfer of refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels in violation of U.N. restrictions.

U.S. officials threaten more economic pain if Russia does not change, Reuters, Aug 21
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