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August 03, 2018 @ 13:00 +03:00
Republican and Democratic U.S. senators introduced legislation on Thursday to impose stiff new sanctions on Russia and combat cyber crime, the latest effort by lawmakers to punish Moscow over interference in U.S. elections and its activities in Syria and Ukraine.
The bill includes restrictions on new Russian sovereign debt transactions, energy and oil projects and Russian uranium imports, and new sanctions on Russian political figures and oligarchs. It also expresses strong support for NATO and would require that two-thirds of the Senate to vote in favor of any effort to leave the alliance.
Russian markets reacted quickly to the measure, with the rouble slumping toward two-week lows. “The current sanctions regime has failed to deter Russia from meddling in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the measure’s lead sponsors. Earlier this week, Graham had told reporters he planned a “sanctions bill from hell” to punish Russia. Congress passed a Russia sanctions bill last summer but some lawmakers chafed at what they saw as President Donald Trump’s reluctance to implement it; he signed it only after Congress passed it with huge majorities.
Republicans and Democrats united last month in repudiating Trump’s failure to publicly condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin for interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections. Still, Congress failed to pass anything before lawmakers left Washington for their weeks-long summer recess. Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said the administration had not fully complied with those sanctions. “This bill is the next step in tightening the screws on the Kremlin and will bring to bear the full condemnation of the United States Congress so that Putin finally understands that the U.S. will not tolerate his behavior any longer,” Menendez said.