Se­na­tors Back Leg­is­la­tion Strength­en­ing Rus­sia Sanc­tions

The Jewish Voice - - NATIONAL - By: Wal­ter Me­tuth

Agroup of Se­na­tors agreed Mon­day on leg­is­la­tion to strengthen sanc­tions against Rus­sia, in­clud­ing a pro­vi­sion that would re­quire con­gres­sional re­view if the White House re­laxed, sus­pended or ter­mi­nated sanc­tions al­ready in place.

The bi­par­ti­san agree­ment comes in the form of an amend­ment to leg­is­la­tion the Se­nate is al­ready con­sid­er­ing on sanc­tions for Iran. The bill is ex­pected to have strong sup­port when it goes be­fore the full Se­nate, and would have to then pass in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and be signed by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

A state­ment from Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic lead­ers on the Se­nate bank­ing com­mit­tee said the amend­ment "ex­pands sanc­tions against the govern­ment of Rus­sia in re­sponse to the vi­o­la­tion of the ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, its brazen cy­ber at­tacks and in­ter­fer­ence in elec­tions, and its con­tin­u­ing ag­gres­sion in Syria."

The mea­sure would strengthen ex­ist­ing sanc­tions tar­get­ing Rus­sian en­ergy projects, while im­pos­ing new sanc­tions on those in­volved in se­ri­ous hu­man rights abuses, sup­ply­ing weapons to the Syr­ian govern­ment, car­ry­ing out ma­li­cious cy­ber ac­tiv­i­ties and do­ing busi­ness with Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence and de­fense.

Krem­lin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said Tues­day that Rus­sia takes a neg­a­tive view of the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion and would not lis­ten to U.S. calls for the re­lease of po­lit­i­cal pro­test­ers ar­rested Mon­day dur­ing anti-govern­ment demon­stra­tions or­ga­nized by op­po­si­tion leader Alexei Navalny.

The anti-cor­rup­tion ral­lies took place Mon­day in cities across Rus­sia. Po­lice ar­rested 850 peo­ple at a protest in Moscow and an­other 500 in St. Pe­ters­burg, where the ral­lies were un­sanc­tioned.

The U.S. called on Rus­sia to re­lease "peace­ful" pro­test­ers ar­rested Mon­day. Peskov said po­lice acted in ac­cor­dance with Rus­sian laws and the pro­test­ers were en­gaged in "provoca­tive ac­tions."

The House and Se­nate, as well as a spe­cial coun­sel ap­pointed by the Jus­tice De­part­ment, are all in­ves­ti­gat­ing Rus­sia's ac­tiv­i­ties re­lated to last year's U.S. elec­tions, as well as po­ten­tial links to Trump's cam­paign. Th U.S. in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity con­cluded in a Jan­uary re­port that Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin or­dered an in­flu­ence cam­paign meant to hurt Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton and help Trump's chances of win­ning.

"The e ad­di­tional sanc­tions will also send a pow­er­ful and bi­par­ti­san state­ment to Rus­sia and any other coun­try who might try to in­ter­fere in our elec­tions that they will be pun­ished," said Se­nate Demo­cratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

"Th­ese ad­di­tional sanc­tions will also send a pow­er­ful and bi­par­ti­san state­ment to Rus­sia and any other coun­try who might try to in­ter­fere in our elec­tions that they will be pun­ished," said Se­nate Demo­cratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

Po­lice de­tain a pro­tester in Moscow, Rus­sia, June 12, 2017

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