Global Geo-political Series: US Senate overwhelmingly supports new sanctions on Russian Federation

It would beef up penalties imposed on Russian Federation for meddling in last year's election and initiate an extensive congressional review process should President Donald Trump move to ease or lift existing sanctions.

The Senate on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly - 97 to 2 - to add the Russian Federation measure to a bill sanctioning Iran for its work to develop ballistic missile technology, in a bipartisan rebuke to Trump's suggestions about improving relations with Russian Federation.

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The amendment ensures that Congress has time to review any plans by the Trump administration to relax, suspend or terminate sanctions - some of which were imposed after Russian Federation annexed Crimea in 2014 and supported separatists in Eastern Ukraine, in a conflict that is ongoing.

In early January, before Trump was sworn in, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill created to go beyond the punishments already levied against Russian Federation by the Obama administration and to demonstrate to Trump that forcefully responding to Moscow's election interference wasn't a partisan issue.

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Senate Democrats expressed concerns to Politico that the extremely busy news cycle related to the investigations surrounding Russian Federation and Trump may ironically allow the administration to block or stall this legislation created to punish Russian Federation.

To take effect, the measure would also have to pass the House of Representatives and be signed into law by Mr Trump. The new sanctions are meant to punish Russian Federation for its role in the fighting in Syria and for interfering in the 2016 election. Republican Senator Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, were the only two "no" votes. He's sending a top State Department official, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, to St. Petersburg on June 23to work through some "irritants". Brown also said the veto-proof vote on the sanctions package should send a strong signal to the White House. "What I wouldn't want to do is close the channels off".

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The measure flew in the face of President Donald Trump-who has both steadfastly called for better relations with Moscow and denied it had meddled in the election that saw him rise to power last year-now faces a hard decision on whether or not to sign the bill. It's attached as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill. One senator, Democratic Sen. "I find as we get to the finish line on these bills, every administration generally joins us ... so I think we'll have the support of the administration".

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