27 July, 2017
The Kremlin said on Monday it was anxious that proposed new USA sanctions against Moscow could hurt major investment projects with European partners, but said it was premature to say if and how it would retaliate.
Eager to punish Russian Federation for meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Congress on Tuesday overwhelmingly backed a new package of sanctions against Moscow that prohibits Trump from waiving the penalties without first getting permission from Congress. It also limits any effort by the White House to weaken such penalties.
Perhaps more significantly, the lifting of the sanctions regimes will no longer be the prerogative of the President. There are deep concerns that the measures could hit European energy companies involved in Russia-related projects, including those engaged in the Nord Stream 2 initiative to build additional undersea natural gas pipelines between Russian Federation and Germany.
The White House said on Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump was open to signing legislation toughening sanctions on Russian Federation after Senate and House leaders reached agreement on a bill late last week.
According to the internal note prepared for EU Commissioners, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is particularly concerned about energy-related measures in the sanctions, which he believes could be used unfairly against European energy companies.
Some US media reports suggest the vote was retribution for Moscow's alleged meddling in 2016 US presidential elections and Donald Trump's friendliness with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while others said it was a nod to Trump's "America first" pledges.
The warring sides also inked another truce deal, dubbed Minsk II, in February 2015 under the supervision of Russia, Germany and France.
Schaefer said that Berlin wanted to work with the U.S. on the sanctions, which he said would not necessarily be adopted, but "could not accept" the practice of carrying out industrial policy under the guise of sanctions, Reuters reported. The GOP-controlled Congress has not been able to send bills fulfilling any of Trump's campaign pledges, such as repealing the healthcare law and reforming the tax code to Trump's desk thus far.
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European business was considerably alarmed by the situation with the anti-Russian sanctions, the Russian envoy said. Should the USA president sign it into law, it would be possible to remove the sanctions only by adopting another piece of legislation.
If the bill clears a vote in the US Senate, it then heads to the desk of US President Donald Trump.
The last-minute hurdle may prevent passage of the legislation before Congress breaks for its August recess.
Companies working with Iran and North Korea would also be subject to he sanctions.
Before Trump definitively takes a decision it is too early to talk about any potential counter measure from Moscow, Peskov said.
Tuesday's bill, which was prompted by Russia's meddling in last year's USA elections and by its actions in Syria, also threatens fines against firms that help Russian Federation to extract oil from Arctic offshore deposits or that help it to sell arms.
The Trump administration is unlikely to veto it because the whopping majority in Congress could subsequently overturn such a veto.
- Reduces from 30 days to 14 days the maximum allowed maturity for new debt and new extensions of credit to the state controlled financial institutions targeted under the sectoral sanctions. "In this, the United States commercial interest is becoming quite evident", he said.