US Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on new sweeping sanctions legislation against Russia’s meddling in the US presidential elections, its actions in the Crimea and its support of the Syrian regime. The new legislation would limit the US President’s ability to suspend or terminate the Russia sanctions. We already wrote about the sanctions bill, which article can be found here. Although the version of the bill includes a small number of changes, technical and substantive, from the Senate legislation, the new sanctions would still target Russian energy projects, impose new sanctions on Russian mining, metals, shipping, railways and on Russians guilty of conducting cyber attacks or supplying weapons to the Syrian government. The bill would also allow for sanctions against non-US entities supporting or investing in Russian “gas export pipelines”, including the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to the EU.
The President now has to vote on the bill. It will be interesting to learn what the president will do. Although he already expressed his discontent with the bill, white house officials allegedly have stated that they cannot believe President Trump will veto the bill. Congress has complicated the decision for President Trump because the legislation also encompasses new sanctions against Iran and North Korea, two countries the administration has been eager to punish for their activities.
The EU Commission has warned the US against unilateral tightening of sanctions against Russia and said that Washington’s actions were “driven primarily by domestic considerations,”. The Commission is concerned the measures discussed in the US Congress could have unintended consequences, not only when it comes to Transatlantic/G7 unity, but also on EU economic and energy security interests. This impact could be potentially wide and indiscriminate, including when it comes to energy sources diversification efforts. B&A Law will keep you updated on this subject.
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