Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

US Senate adopts amendment on more sanctions against Russian Federation

The sanctions were meant to be a punishment for Russia's meddling in Ukraine as well as pushback to the Moscow government's attempts to interfere in the USA election a year ago, lawmakers said. To take effect, the measure would also have to pass the House of Representatives and be signed into law by Trump.

The measure, attached as an amendment to a broader bill dealing with Iran, firms up existing sanctions against Russian Federation and imposes new ones. The new sanctions are meant to punish Russian Federation for its role in the fighting in Syria and for interfering in the 2016 election. "This bill is the first time Congress has come together since the JCPOA, the Iran nuclear deal, to do just that", Corker added.

The review mechanism was styled after 2015 legislation pushed by Republicans and approved overwhelmingly in the Senate that gave Congress a vote on whether President Barack Obama could lift sanctions against Iran.

The bill as originally introduced was exclusively about slapping new sanctions on Iran.

The vote was overshadowed by Wednesday's shooting at a congressional Republican baseball practice - two senators were there, Rand Paul and Jeff Flake of Arizona - but the Senate kept on its schedule, and the bill is expected to be passed by the end of the week. USA intelligence reports have concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a cyberattack with the intention of boosting Trump's chance to win.

But Democrats said the message of the Russian Federation sanctions was aimed not just at Moscow, but also at the White House.

USA intelligence chiefs have concluded that Russian Federation orchestrated a campaign to undermine the American election process that included espionage and cyber-attacks, as a means to tilt the vote in Trump's favor.

Moscow has repeatedly denied allegations of meddling in the United States election. It codifies the existing sanctions against Russian Federation which were established by Barack Obama's executive orders and imposes new sanctions against Moscow for its interference in the 2016 elections, besides aggression in Ukraine and support for the Syrian government.

Should Trump reject the new sanctions, the measures backers say that there will be enough congressional support to override the veto, AP reported.

Under the legislation, new sanctions could be levied on entities engaging in "malicious cyber activity". "I find as we get to the finish line on these bills, every administration generally joins us ... so I think we'll have the support of the administration".

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