Now the bill must be received for consideration by the full Senate
© AP Photo/Matt RourkeВАШИНГТОН, December 18. /TASS/. The foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday approved a large package of anti-Russian sanctions, which, in particular, obliges the President of the United States Donald trump to enter a restriction against the sovereign debt of Russia. This was reported by the correspondent of TASS Director of public relations and media senior Democrat of the Committee Juan Pachon.”Yes, the Committee passed the bill 20 minutes ago,” he said.
Originally the senators were to consider and vote for the initiative last week. Now the bill goes for consideration by the full Senate, where it can be amended.
The essence of the initiative
The initiative, entitled “Protecting American security from the aggression of the Kremlin” (Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act) introduced in February the Chairman of the Senate judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham (Republican, South Carolina). From the beginning, legislators have not made edits. For example, the text calls for “the immediate release of the Ukrainian seamen” who were detained after the incident in the Kerch Strait in November 2018. 7 Sep 2019 Russia and Ukraine made a mutual release and repatriation of citizens ‘ groups that had previously been either arrested or convicted on the territory of the two countries. Among these individuals was 24 Ukrainian seamen.The document envisages, in particular, the introduction of sanctions against 24 employees of the FSB, which, according to the American hand, are related to the incident in the Kerch Strait. In addition, the American leader be obliged “to publicly call on the government of the Russian Federation to return the Crimea under the control of the government of Ukraine”.
Lawmakers also require the President to impose sanctions against entities investing in Russian projects associated with the extraction of liquefied natural gas outside of Russia. It comes with a one-time investment of $1 million or $5 million or more over a period of 12 months. The initiative imposes sanctions against individuals, “supporting the development of oil reserves in the Russian Federation” in one way or another.
Sanctions against sovereign debt
The document provides for tougher anti-Russian sanctions, the imposition of restrictions against the Russian shipbuilding industry, as well as against energy projects, including state-owned, banks, cybertecture and financial sector. Part of the restrictions associated with attributed to Washington Moscow’s interference in the democratic process or elections abroad. Russia has repeatedly denied such accusations.
Proposed restrictions on Russian government debt will only apply to new bonds issued by the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank, the national welfare Fund of Russia, as well as any financial institution on behalf of the RF with a period of more than 14 days. Lawmakers propose to limit transactions with the newly issued Russian sovereign bonds, as well as to impose sanctions in relation to the energy projects of Russian companies outside the Russian Federation and some banks.
To secure NATO membership
The authors also advocate the introduction of rules, according to which for a US withdrawal from NATO requires the consent of two-thirds of U.S. senators. Lawmakers banned the Washington administration to leave the Alliance, while the senators will not accept a resolution.
In addition, the document specifies the measures aimed at simplifying procedures for the transfer of Washington’s weapons to countries within NATO, and to reduce their dependence on products from Russia.
The bill says that the American leader must impose sanctions against “politicians, oligarchs, and other individuals promoting illegal and corrupt activities” in Russia, and also against those who “knowingly makes a significant financial transaction with individuals supporting the Russian malicious activity in cyberspace”.
The senators also demand that the Washington administration to provide reports on various issues relating to economic, political and military activities of Russia. Thus, they intend to tighten adopted in the U.S. in 2017, the law CAATSA (“ON countering the enemies of America by sanctions”). This legal act implies, in particular, the introduction of United States government restrictions against those States which conclude with Russia a major procurement of its weapons and military equipment.
Low probability of acceptance
The initiative enjoys the support of a number of senators from both parties. The leader of the democratic minority in the Senate, Chuck Schumer (from NY) with spring urged to approve the bill. However, according to specialists from the new York research company Skopos Labs, the likelihood of the bill and its entry into force is only 3%.
Proposed by group of senators, the initiative is an enhanced version of a similar bill, which the same legislators tried to offer last year, and which in the end did not get support in the Senate. Unlike the current bill, previous it was said that sanctions will be imposed in respect of one or more banks from the list, including Vnesheconombank, Sberbank and VTB.