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U.S. Senators to try again with tougher Russia sanctions bill

U.S. Senators to try again with tougher Russia sanctions bill
Thursday, 14 February, 2019, 13:30

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a bill on February 13 that would impose drastic new sanctions on Russia over its meddling in U.S. elections and aggression against Ukraine.

The bill, the latest congressional effort to push President Donald Trump to ratchet up Washington's response to Moscow, was introduced by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, as well as other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Menendez said lawmakers were determined to take action in response to Moscow's aggression in Ukraine, the humanitarian crisis in Syria, where Moscow backs President Bashar al-Assad, "and the steady erosion of international norms."

"One thing is increasingly clear: Moscow will continue to push until it meets genuine resistance," Menendez said.

The legislation sets out sanctions that would target Russian banks that support efforts to interfere in foreign elections; and individuals deemed to "facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of Putin."

It would also include strict measures against Russia's oil and gas sector, including imposing sanctions against people who provide goods, services, or financing to support the development of crude oil in the country.

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

In 2017, Congress passed a sanctions law known as CAATSA, with strong support from both Democrats and Republicans who overruled Trump's reluctance to impose punitive measures on Moscow.