Senate Democrats to Unveil New ‘Severe’ Russia Sanctions Bill

If Moscow engages in hostilities against Ukraine, sweeping sanctions would be imposed on top Russian military and government officials, including President Vladimir Putin and key banking institutions in Russia, in line with the new US legislation he senior Democratic senators are set to unveil on Wednesday, the Washington Post reported.

The effort led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez and backed by the White House would bring severe costs to the Russian economy in the event of an invasion of Ukraine, targeting companies that offer secure messaging systems – such as SWIFT – which banks are using to exchange key information with other financial institutions.

The legislation endorsed by nearly two dozen Senate Democrats also includes provisions that encourage the US to consider and use any available and appropriate measure to prevent the operability of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is seen as a “Russian tool of malign influence”, and to bolster Ukraine’s security.

National Security Council’s spokesperson pointed that the White House supports Menendez’s bill, noting that no other measures – Republican Senator Ted Cruz is pushing one in a separate bill – will protect Ukraine or counter further Russian aggression.

Not only that but several Democratic senators have expressed their concerns on Monday that sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and on European officials assisting with the development of the gas pipeline, that Cruz backed could harm relations with Germany.

The Nord Stream 2 bill would impose sanctions that would go into effect no later than two weeks after bill enactment and would likely impact the German and Swiss officials working to finalize the pipeline with the envisaged asset freezes and travel bans.

The vote on the Texas Republican’s bill is expected this week but considering the growing number of Democrats – some of which are seen as the most hawkish in their party on Russia – are criticizing it, that could be a sign that it might not pass out of the chamber.

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