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Senate Makes It Harder for Trump to Lift Russian Sanctions

If the measure became law, it could complicate relations with some countries in Europe.The lone dissenters on the bill were Sens.The White House stressed that it is committed to the existing Russian sanctions regime that it believes is best suited to address USA concerns and would keep sanctions in place until Russia resolves the situation in Ukraine. “Russians guilty of conducting cyber attacks or supplying weapons to Syria’s government”, according to Reuters.The bill was now heading toward the House for passage before reaching U.S. President Donald Trump’s desk. Germany and Austria said the new punitive measures could expose European companies involved in projects in Russian Federation to fines.Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted 97-2 in favor of an amendment to pending Iran sanctions legislation that will not only codify sanctions on Russian Federation that were imposed by President Obama before he left office, but also imposes new sanctions.The new Russian Federation sanctions also requires the White House to get a congressional review if it attempts to relax, suspend or terminate Russian Federation sanctions. Also included in the bill is an amendment strengthening sanctions for Russian officials who support cyberattacks against the US and its allies.Finally, it provides that no sanctions can be lifted by the President without Congressional review. Regardless, GOP senators believe Trump would sign it, with Sen.The new sanctions include additional punitive measures against Russia’s defense, intelligence, mining, shipping and railway industries and restrict dealings with the country’s banks and energy companies.Previously, US energy sanctions had only targeted Russia’s future high-tech energy projects, such as drilling for oil in the Arctic, fracking and offshore drilling. They blocked US companies such as Exxon Mobil, where Tillerson was chairman, from investing in such projects.The upper chamber of Congress passed the measure 98-2 after approving an amendment a day earlier that added the Russian provisions to the bill.The new bill would slap sanctions on companies in other countries looking to invest in those projects in the absence of USA companies, a practice known as backfilling.