Russian Federation orders cut in USA diplomats in reaction to sanctions

Jerome Frank
July 30, 2017

The White House has revealed Donald Trump will sign financial sanctions against Russian Federation which will bar him from easing the penalties.

The House of Representatives and the Senate have voted for another round of sanctions against Russian Federation this week.

The legislation bars Trump from easing or waiving the additional penalties on Russian Federation unless the US Congress agrees and provisions were included to ease concerns that the president's push for better relations with Moscow might lead him to relax the penalties without first securing concessions from the Kremlin.

The number of USA targets inside Russian Federation for Kremlin retaliation are limited, particularly if Moscow is anxious about damaging the investment climate or about other economic fallout. "This is already having an extremely negative impact on the process of normalising our relations", he said, adding that US-Russia relations were entering "uncharted territory in a political and diplomatic sense".

Relations between Russian Federation and the United States dropped to a post-Cold War low following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, where fighting since 2014 has left 10,000 people dead. The sanctions also apply to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps security force.

"President Donald J Trump read early drafts of the bill and negotiated regarding critical elements of it", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a late-night statement.

Konstantin Kosachyov, who heads the foreign relations committee in Russia's upper house of parliament, called on Moscow to devise a "painful" response to the United States move.

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The US Senate had voted nearly unanimously on Thursday to slap new sanctions on the three countries. The bill was passed overwhelmingly in the Senate and House by veto-proof margins.

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The White House initially wavered on whether the president would sign the measure into law. The bill now heads to the White House for President Donald Trump's approval.

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The White House has been ambivalent about whether Trump will give his approval. Weiss suggested that Trump's low approval ratings at home, his tendency to alienate North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies such as Germany and his inability to pass domestic legislation all contribute to a Russian perception that he is weakening the United States.

"We continue to support strong sanctions against those three countries, and we're going to wait and see what that final legislation looks like and make a decision at that point", she told reporters.

"This bill doesn't preclude him from issuing tougher sanctions".

Signing a bill that penalises Russia's election interference marks a significant shift for Trump.

Lawmakers say they want to prevent the president from acting on his own to lift penalties imposed by the previous administration for meddling in last year's US election and for aggression in Ukraine. Both were veto-proof numbers. "That doesn't make any sense", said Edward Fishman, a former State Department official during the Obama administration who worked on US sanctions policy. "It's impossible to endlessly tolerate this boorishness towards our country".

Russia's response mirrors moves by outgoing President Barack Obama last December to expel 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two Russian estates in the U.S. "And now these sanctions - they are also absolutely unlawful from the point of view of global law".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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