Tillerson calls on Russian Federation to improve U.S. relations

Jerome Frank
July 31, 2017

The White House has said President Trump plans to sign the legislation approved by the Senate on Thursday to impose new sanctions on Russian Federation for its meddling in the 2016 election.

Never in doubt was a cornerstone of the legislation that bars Mr Trump from easing or waiving the additional penalties on Russian Federation unless the US Congress agrees. It is aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad.

"The United States of America needs to send a strong message to Vladimir Putin and any other aggressor that we will not tolerate attacks on our democracy", said Sen.

Kosachev's promise to issue an asymmetrical response suggests that Moscow will not react to U.S. sanctions in kind, nor will it stop at its July 28 announcement that it would expel U.S. diplomats and seize two properties belonging to the U.S. Embassy.

In the statement, the ministry said, "Any new unilateral actions by the USA authorities to reduce the number of our diplomats in the United States will be met with a mirror response".

Russia President Vladimir Putin, who Trump has expressed respect for, has also criticized the bill.

Russia had originally threatened the ouster of diplomats and seizure of property in December after the US ordered 35 Russian envoys out of the USA and seized two embassy compounds outside NY and Washington in protest of alleged Russian meddling in the election.

The sanctions bill penalizes Russian Federation over its meddling in the election as well as its actions in Syria and Ukraine.

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Lavrov added, however, that Moscow was "ready to normalize the bilateral relations with the US and cooperate on important global issues".

Immediately after the United States ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats in December, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recommended a tit-for-tat expulsion of 35 USA diplomats and the shuttering of two American facilities in Russia. Lawmakers pushed for more Russian Federation sanctions in response to Russia's meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.

He's repeatedly cast doubt on the conclusion of USA intelligence agencies that Russian Federation sought to tip the election in his favour. US President Donald Trump will now have to decide whether to accept or veto the measures. The move is retaliatory in nature against the U.S. proposal of imposing sanctions against the country.

The European Union is remaining vigilant about the package of new USA sanctions on Russian Federation, amid fears the penalties could harm the bloc's energy security and impact European companies.

"This kind of blackmail aimed at restricting the cooperation between Russian Federation and other nations is a threat for many countries and global businesses", the statement said.

Lawmakers said they also made adjustments so the sanctions on Russia's energy sector didn't undercut the ability of USA allies in Europe to get access to oil and gas resources outside of Russian Federation.

Moscow said it would cut the US diplomatic corps even further if the USA decides to expel more Russian diplomats.

But in a statement late Friday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had "reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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