Everything you need to know as Russia retaliates over US sanctions bill
Donald Trump will sign financial sanctions which will bar him from easing the penalties.
The White House has revealed Donald Trump will sign financial sanctions against Russia which will bar him from easing the penalties.
According to a statement issued by the White House, the US president read early drafts of the bill and “and intends to sign it”.
Here’s everything you need to know:
What happened with the bill?
The Senate passed the sanctions bill 98-2, two days after the House of Representatives pushed the measure through by an overwhelming margin, 419-3. Both were veto-proof numbers.
The White House initially wavered on whether the president would sign the measure into law, but in a statement late on Friday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had “reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it”.
What does Russia make of this?
Moscow responded to the news quickly, ordering a cut in the number of US diplomats in Russia.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it was ordering the US embassy in Moscow to reduce the number of its diplomats by September 1.
Russia will also close down the embassy’s recreational retreat on the outskirts of Moscow, as well as warehouse facilities.
What does it mean to US-Russia relations?
Signing a bill that penalises Russia’s election interference marks a significant shift for Trump.
His vow to extend a hand of co-operation to Russian president Vladimir Putin has been met with resistance as sceptical politicians look to limit the president’s leeway to go easy on Moscow over its meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
What does the bill entail?
The 184-page bill seeks to hit Putin and the oligarchs close to him by targeting Russian corruption, human rights abusers, and crucial sectors of the economy – including weapons sales and energy exports.
The legislation bars Trump from easing or waiving the additional penalties on Russia unless the US Congress agrees and provisions were included to ease concerns that the president’s push for better relations with Moscow might lead him to relax the penalties without first securing concessions from the Kremlin.
The legislation is also aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the 2016 presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad.
It also imposes financial sanctions against Iran and North Korea.