US Senate passes sanctions bill targeting Russia, Iran, North.Korea

But faced with heavy cross-party support for the bill in the House and Senate, the president had little choice but to sign the bill into law.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, after the U.S. Congress passed sweeping sanctions bills on Thursday, ordered the U.S. missions to reduce the number of their diplomatic personnel in Russia to 455 people by September 1.

The Senate passed the bill, 98-2, two days after the House of Representatives pushed the measure through by an overwhelming margin, 419-3.

Never in doubt was a cornerstone of the legislation that bars Mr Trump from easing or waiving the additional penalties on Russian Federation unless the US Congress agrees.

The bill, the first major foreign policy legislation to emerge from Congress since the president took office, also includes sanctions on North Korea and Iran.

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly helped the Senate pass bipartisan legislation Thursday that would increase sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

European commissioners, the EU executive's top officials, "expressed their concerns notably because of the draft Bill's possible impact on EU energy independence", the bloc said in a statement following talks in Brussels on Wednesday.

"President Trump should sign this bill as soon as it hits his desk", said Sen.

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Trump expressed a desire on the campaign trail in 2016 to better USA relations with Russian Federation.

Trump has denied any collusion between his associates and Moscow and termed the Russian investigation "a witch hunt".

"We will respond to the new possible sanctions against Russian Federation according to the latest version of the bill evaluated by Washington", Putin said during a meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the country's Savonlinna province.

The White House has said Trump is still evaluating the bill and supported strong sanctions against Russian Federation.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer derided as "laughable" Scaramucci's assertion that Trump could negotiate even tougher sanctions against Russian Federation. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday night aboard Air Force One said the president is "looking over" where the legislation stood. The White House has said in recent weeks that it didn't want new sanctions in place.

Obama expelled members of Russia's diplomatic corps, ordered Russia's Foreign Ministry to vacate two compounds it owns in Maryland and NY and sanctioned Russia's mining and oil industries.

Initially, Trump resisted the sanctions legislation.

The ministry specified that the actions are in response to a vote Thursday in the U.S. Senate which imposed harsher economic sanctions against Russian Federation. "It is impossible to endlessly endure impudence towards our country". "And now these sanctions - they are also absolutely unlawful from the point of view of worldwide law".

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