Putin: New sanctions will 'complicate' Russia-US ties

Mohammed Mossadegh speaks during his military tribunal trial in Iran in November 1953 following his overthrow in a CIA-backed coup

Mohammed Mossadegh speaks during his military tribunal trial in Iran in November 1953 following his overthrow in a CIA-backed coup

On Wednesday, the US Senate approved, by an overwhelming majority, a measure that would expand sanctions on Russian Federation and limit the US president's ability to lift said sanctions.

The Senate approved the bill 98-2, with Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont voting against the measure.

This bill still must go to the House for consideration; it's not clear whether it will be advanced by GOP leaders there, as the Trump Administration is not pleased with some of the details.

The Senate said the new measures were meant to punish Moscow for Russia's violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity, cyberattacks and interference in the 2016 USA elections.

The bill establishes a review process for Congress to have a say whether the White House eases Russian Federation sanctions. Then it will be brought before US President Donald Trump, who will have to either sign or vetoit.

Putin said that Russian Federation would be forced to make changes because of the sanctions, but they wouldn't lead to a "collapse". These latest sanctions are in retaliation for Russia's interference in last year's presidential election.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has already indicated his mixed feelings for the measure, saying publicly that while he agreed "with the sentiment" that Russian Federation be held accountable for its election meddling, he also wanted Congress "to ensure any legislation allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions to meet the needs of what is always an evolving diplomatic situation".

"I would hope to allow the diplomatic efforts to attempt to make some progress", Tillerson said earlier this week. "I would be very, very surprised if the president vetoes this bill".

But the Senate moved forward anyway. "But look, this bill is going to become law", Corker told reporters on Wednesday. The Crapo Amendment on Russian Federation mostly was created to prevent the president from removing any sanctions without Congressional permission, but quickly expanded to include large new sanctions against mining and energy production within Russian Federation.

Corker, too, sounded pleased that the bill effectively ties a president's hands when it comes to unwinding certain sanctions on Russian Federation. "But I believe that these new sanctions could endanger the very important nuclear agreement that was signed between the United States, its partners and Iran in 2015".

During a visit to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters on his first foreign trip last month, Trump did not explicitly affirm his support for Article 5.

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