Putin: New sanctions will 'complicate' Russia-US ties

The Senate bill imposes mandatory sanctions on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them.

Recall, this week the US Senate passed a bill to expand the anti-Russian sanctions.

European allies, Germany and Austria, expressed concern for the impact the Russia sanctions could have on Russian natural gas supplies with Europe.

The bill, which passed by a vote of 98-2, would ensure that President Donald Trump could not unilaterally lift sanctions against Russian Federation; any attempt to do so would have to be approved by Congress.

The lower House of Representatives must still approve the bill before it would reach Trump's desk.

The measure also asserts a role for Congress if the White House opts to ease any sanctions against Moscow. Additionally, the sanctions include a provision that prevents President Trump from lifting sanctions against Russian Federation without the consent of Congress. Sen.

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The Trump administration reportedly is weighing the return of Russian compounds on US soil seized by the Obama administration, and the president has repeatedly expressed a desire for better relations with Moscow while downplaying the impact of Russia's cyber activities. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has already indicated his mixed feelings for the measure, saying publicly that while he agreed "with the sentiment" that Russian Federation be held accountable for its election meddling, he also wanted Congress "to ensure any legislation allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions to meet the needs of what is always an evolving diplomatic situation".

From the Senate, the bill still has to be approved by the House and then by President Trump to become law.

But Democrats fear that the White House would be very demanding in its efforts to dilute the legislation. The Russia amendment was added to the sanctions bill in a 97-2 vote on Wednesday.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson questioned the legislation on Wednesday, urging Congress to ensure that any sanctions package "allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions to meet the needs of what is always an evolving diplomatic situation".

The measure would punish individuals who conduct what the senators described as "malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government". They blocked U.S. companies such as Exxon Mobil, where Tillerson was chairman, from investing in such projects. Only Senators Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders voted against the legislation.

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