US senators reached an agreement on Monday on legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, including a provision that would prevent the White House from easing, suspending or ending sanctions without congressional approval.
The agreement, to be filed as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill, is intended to punish Russia over issues including its alleged meddling in the 2016 US election, annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and support for the government of Syria.
The Iran bill is due come up for a vote as soon as this week. Besides the provision setting up a process for Congress to review changes in sanctions, the measure would put into law sanctions previously established via presidential executive order, including some on certain Russian energy projects and debt financing in some industries.
It would impose new sanctions on Russians found to be guilty of human rights abuses, supplying weapons to Syria's government and conduct cyber attacks on behalf of Russia's government, among others. The legislation is backed by both Republicans and Democrats, and is expected to easily pass the Senate. To become law, the legislation would have to pass the House of Representatives and be signed into law by Trump.
Russia will not heed US calls
The Kremlin said on Tuesday that Russian authorities would not pay attention to US calls to release anti-government demonstrators who were detained on Monday during protests organised by opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the authorities had not acted against protesters who had agreed their actions in advance. He also said that Russia took a negative view of a US Senate deal on wider sanctions against Russia.
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