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MINSK, June 15. /TASS/. The proposal by the US Senate to tighten anti-Russian sanctions is aimed at undermining President Trump’s attempts to stave off the wave of anti-Russian hoopla, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) International Affairs Committee, Leonid Slutsky, told reporters on Thursday.
"Considering that some circles in the US fear that Donald Trump’s constructive motivation can change or, at least, somewhat curb the earlier-imposed anti-Russian sanctions, they tried ‘to cover all bases’ by making sure that the mechanism for reviewing sanctions is subject to mandatory approval by Congress," Slutsky pointed out. "All that indicates a high degree of anti-Russian hysteria, which persists in the US."
"(US officials) continue to link Russia to Trump and his election campaign procedures. All that deals a serious blow to Trump himself and, as we understand, prompts him to distance himself from everything connected with Russia. This is exactly what he has been doing recently, since a whole new story actually evolves every week and is a significant blow to the reputation of the president himself and his entourage," the lawmaker went on to say. "From this point of view, we can say that the accepted behavior pattern with regard to Russia is aimed at making the ‘anti-Russian flywheel’ (launched by the Obama administration) even stronger and not let Trump, even if he opts to do so, somehow suspend it or spin it in the opposite, constructive direction," he emphasized.
"Proceeding from this assumption, one can say that the degree of anti-Russian tensions in Washington is higher than ever, which in no way cancels our actions, including in terms of parliamentary diplomacy in relation to the US, and we are working on that," Slutsky said. He noted that "in the European institutions and the pan-Atlantic OSCE, which involves the US, and its Parliamentary Assembly all anti-Russian rhetoric and arguments look increasingly more unsound." "So, the situation is not simple, but we continue working," he added.
On June 14, the US Senate voted to include the amendment on tightening anti-Russian sanctions in the bill that was initially aimed at increasing pressure on Iran.
The senators propose tightening sanctions against Moscow in several areas. Firstly, the insist on enshrining in law the sanctions imposed on the basis of executive decrees issued by former US President Barack Obama over the developments in southeastern Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. They will affect those who, according to officials in Washington, are involved in the alleged Russian cyber attacks.
Legislators also plan to strip the White House of the right to ease sanctions at its sole discretion. To this end, the president will have to submit to Congress a list of individuals that sanctions are to be lifted from and assure lawmakers that Russia has changed its policy in a number of directions, including on Syria and Ukraine.
According to the amendment, the head of state will also have to impose sanctions against those providing significant financial, material or technological support to the Syrian government. It has also been given the right to impose restrictions against individuals investing large amounts of money - from $1 mln and more - in the construction of Russia’s pipelines for energy resources exports.