US bill could place sanctions on Russia

15 Feb 19

US senators have put forward a bill that would impose new sanctions on Russia over its alleged meddling in US elections and its stance on Ukraine.

The legislation is a tougher version of what has been dubbed the “sanctions bill from hell” by Republican Lindsey Graham, one of the senators behind the bill.

The sanctions will target Russian banks that support efforts to interfere in foreign elections, the country’s cyber sector and individuals that “facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of [Russian president Vladimir] Putin”.

It would also impose strict measures on the oil and gas sector, which makes up about 40% of the Russian government’s revenues.

In response to the bill, the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act, known as DASKA, the Kremlin said the Russian economy would be able to cope with any new sanctions because of macroeconomic stability and growth.

A spokesperson said the legislation would harm international trade law and be an act of unfair competition ­– adding that it had been drafted by US senators who are “hostage” to anti-Russian sentiment.

Graham introduced the bill alongside Democrat Bob Menendez and other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The senators failed to get the bill through Congress last year but growing bipartisan anger over Russia’s interference could make it easier for the bill to pass this time, Reuters reported.

President Donald Trump would have to sign the bill before it became law.

Menendez, who is the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement: “President Trump’s wilful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress.”


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