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Putin: early to speak about retaliation against new USA sanctions - agency

18 June 2017

Only Senators Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders voted against the legislation.

The Russia amendment was part of a larger measure that targets Iran for sanctions over its ballistic missile program, human rights violations, and other issues.

Sen. (R-Idaho), the chairman of the Banking Committee, praised the agreement as a "strong bipartisan measure" that will "result in some very powerful and new sanctions" against Russian Federation. It's attached as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill. Lawmakers of both parties stressed the measures in no way target Iran's nuclear program or the landmark worldwide nuclear accord with Tehran. The package is to be added to a bill imposing penalties on Iran that the Senate is now debating. "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". He also acknowledged, "In Putin's calculation, the costs of the sanctions do not outweigh the benefits of occupying Crimea and contributing to unrest in the Ukraine, to continue supporting the Assad regime's assault on civilians in Syria, and conducting cyberattacks on people and companies and institutions around the globe". Iran is also involved in efforts to finance and arm groups waging civil wars and sectarian conflicts throughout the rest of the Middle East.

"It is time to respond to Russia's attack on American Democracy with strength, with resolve, with common objective and with action", Republican Senator John McCain said.

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The Senate affirmed by an overwhelming, veto-proof margin today that they want to maintain and increase punitive sanctions on Moscow, as well as block President Trump from rolling them back without congressional approval, while expanding sanctions against Russian Federation ally Iran.

Graham also introduced an amendment to the bill to reaffirm USA support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Article 5 of its charter, which promises common defense if any one North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member is attacked.

Most Republicans would have been reluctant to vote for a stand-alone Russian Federation sanctions bill because it could be seen as a knock against the President, explained Mr Fishman.

"We need to wait for the final decision by the Congress, to see the reaction of U.S. President Donald Trump". The Senate's move sent a clear signal to the White House that any conciliatory actions toward the Kremlin would have to go through Congress. It's not like the sanctions are a surprise to President Putin, who has been following the anti-Trump hysteria in Washington fairly closely. The White House has not yet released a statement on the president's reaction to the sanctions bill.

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During the hearing Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson urged senators to oppose the measure so that Trump and his administration would have "the flexibility to turn the heat up" if necessary.

"I certainly agree with the sentiment that has been conveyed by several members from both parties that Russian Federation must be held accountable for its meddling in USA elections", he said before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

If the House ultimately decides not to pass the bill, Mr Fishman said it would be a "be a betrayal of their responsibility to defend America's national security".

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Putin: early to speak about retaliation against new USA sanctions - agency