U.S. Senate Democrats unveil Russia sanctions bill to bolster Ukraine

U.S. Senate Democrats unveil Russia sanctions bill to bolster Ukraine
# 12 January 2022 21:24 (UTC +04:00)

U.S. Senate Democrats on Wednesday unveiled a bill to impose sweeping sanctions on top Russian government and military officials, including President Vladimir Putin, and key banking institutions if Moscow engages in hostilities against Ukraine, APA reports quoting Reuters.

The proposed legislation, backed by the White House, includes provisions to help bolster Ukraine’s security and encourages the United States to "consider all available and appropriate measures" to ensure the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline - a "tool of malign influence of the Russian Federation" - does not become operational.

"This legislation makes it absolutely clear that the U.S. Senate will not stand idly by as the Kremlin threatens a re-invasion of Ukraine," Senator Robert Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who unveiled the bill, said in a statement.

Russia has amassed about 100,000 troops on Ukraine's border and Washington is trying to dissuade Moscow from re-invading the country.

The bill, first reported by the Washington Post, would also target companies in Russia that offer secure messaging systems, such as SWIFT, which banks use to exchange key information with other financial institutions.

More than two dozen Democrats, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have endorsed the bill, a Menendez spokesperson said.

The bill would "trigger severe costs to Russia's economy" if Russia goes ahead with an invasion, a spokesperson for the White House's National Security Council said.

Other legislation, such as a billsponsored by Republican Senator Ted Cruz, will "not counter further Russian aggression or protect Ukraine," the NSC spokesperson said.

Cruz struck a deal with Schumer last month, in which the Texas senator released his hold on dozens of President Joe Biden's ambassadorial nominees. Cruz's bill will be put to a vote this week, but it requires 60 votes to pass, a high hurdle in the evenly divided Senate.

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