Tillerson says US relationship with Russia is deteriorating

Russian President Vladimir Putin receives German Chancellor Angela Merkel

The U.S. Senate is closing in on an agreement for a new round of sanctions against Russian Federation, a move that will likely force President Donald Trump to either sign or veto a measure that he has not said he supports.

Leaders of the foreign relations and banking committees negotiated the deal - a response to Russia's involvement in the 2016 USA presidential election as well as wars in Syria and Ukraine.

If enacted, the amendment should assuage lawmakers concerned that the Trump administration plans to relax sanctions against the Kremlin by requiring a mandated congressional review "if sanctions are relaxed, suspended or terminated". And it imposes new sanctions in a number of categories, including those "conducting malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government" and "supplying weapons to the Assad regime".

The new sanctions are included as an amendment to a bill sanctioning Iran for its ballistic missile programme. Since 2014, the USA has leveled sanctions against Russian Federation, citing a laundry list of Moscow's violations, including its interference in Ukraine and Crimea, its supplying of weapons to Syrian President Bashar Assad, and more recently its attempts to influence the 2016 presidential elections. This bill will be put to the vote this week.

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"We'll soon pass a very important new sanctions on both Iran and on Russia", McConnell said in his list of accomplishments.

The US and its European allies have imposed a series of financial sanctions against Russian companies and individuals over the country's alleged role in the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

Allow broad new sanctions on key sectors of Russia's economy, including mining, metals, shipping and railways.

A procedural vote on the Russian Federation sanctions is expected Wednesday, and the measure is expected to get strong bipartisan support. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the top Senate Democrat. If approved, the legislation will then be approved by the House of Representatives and, finally, be signed into law by President Donald Trump. The deal was also worked out with Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chair Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Foreign Relations Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Maryland). The review language would be structured "much like we did in other places", such as the 2015 legislation that required former President Barack Obama to submit his administration's nuclear pact with Iran to Congress, Corker said. The Russians will be sorely disappointed that putting their thumb on the scales in the presidential race isn't buying them relief from sanctions. "There was serious consideration by the White House to unilaterally rescind the sanctions", said Dan Fried, a veteran State Department official who served as chief USA coordinator for sanctions policy until he retired in late February.

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