Russia-China joint drill not for military alliance, says Putin

30 July, 2017, 01:30 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • The White House announced that President Trump has reviewed the Russia sanctions bill and plans to sign it. The legislation not only would sanction Russia but limit Trump's ability to ease penalties against Moscow on his own

But Putin stopped short of defining what possible counter measures Russian Federation would adopt, just saying Russian Federation should see first what the final outcome of the US legislation would be.

"He may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are, or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians", he said.

Though at first he dismissed the accusations against Russian hacking as conjecture, Trump eventually said he agreed with the intelligence findings.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has lobbied against Congress codifying sanctions, saying the administration needed the "flexibility" of strengthening or easing sanctions depending on the status of worldwide deliberations over Ukraine, Syria and other issues. It also imposes financial sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

Moscow has responded by ordering a reduction in the number of U.S. diplomats in Russian Federation and closing the U.S. Embassy's recreation retreat.

The bill, which also includes new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, was a product of lengthy negotiations between the House and Senate. Skeptical lawmakers are looking to limit the executive power's leeway to go easy on Moscow over its meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

It's unclear if Trump plans to sign the bill, but it passed with veto-proof majorities in both chambers.

Once Trump receives the bill, if he does not sign it, he has 10 days, excluding Sundays, before he must issue a veto and prevent the bill from becoming law automatically. The president denies any collusion between his campaign and Moscow.


The ministry also said it would bar the use of a summer house and storage facilities in Moscow by the USA embassy from August 1.

Senate foreign relations committee Chairman Bob Corker, asked by reporters on Thursday about the comment, dismissed Scaramucci's suggestion that Trump could veto the Russian Federation sanctions bill.

The House easily backed the sanctions on Tuesday, and two days later, in the midst of health care, the Senate cleared the bill and sent it to the president.

"I can not imagine anybody is seriously thinking about vetoing this bill", said Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Republicans and Democrats have pushed for more sanctions partly as a response to conclusions by US intelligence agencies that the Kremlin interfered in the election. U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Maria Olson could not immediately say what kind of cut would have to be made to meet Russia's new requirements.

Russia's ambitions to be on equal footing with the USA suffered a setback in 2014 when the Obama administration authorized sanctions against sectors of the Russian economy, including financial services, energy, mining and defense. Communications director Anthony Scaramucci told CNN there's a chance Trump could veto it.

The new package of sanctions aims to hit President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle by targeting alleged corrupt officials, human rights abusers and crucial sectors of the Russian economy, including weapons sales and energy exports.

Besides angering Moscow, the proposed legislation has upset the European Union, which has said the new sanctions might affect its energy security and prompt it to act, too. It also toughens sanctions on Iran and North Korea. The measure would apply terrorism sanctions to the country's Revolutionary Guards and enforce an arms embargo.

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