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Trump to sign bill on anti-Russian sanctions - White House

U.S. President has scrutinized the final version and approves of the document and plans to sign it, the White House press service said

WASHINGTON, July 29. /TASS/. U.S. President Donald Trump has familiarized himself with the final version of a bill on toughening the sanctions against Russia that received endorsement in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Congress and he plans to sign it into law, the White House press service said on Friday.

It said Trump had familiarized himself with earlier versions of the bill and had held talks on its crucial provisions. By now he has scrutinized the final version and since the latter reflects everything he held discussions on, he approves of the document and plans to sign it.

The House of Repsentatives endorsed the bill on July 25 and the Senate did it on July 27 without introducing any changes in it.

The document transforms the anti-Russian restrictive measures undertaken by the Obama Administration into a law. The case in hand is Obama’s executive orders issued on March 6 and December 14, 2014, April 1, 2015, as well as July 26 and July 29, 2016.

The latter sanctions put up impediments in the way of contacts between Russian and U.S. Armed Forces, intelligence agencies, and defense manufacturers. They also created difficulties for Russian companies, especially the ones in the energy sector, in getting loans in the West.

The sanctions however did not touch upon cooperation in space exploration or, rather, the products and services NASA obtains from Russia.

The bill permits more sanctions in the form of freezes on bank assets, denial of entry visas and other steps in the same vein for the supposed actions that allegedly undermine cybersecurity in the U.S. in the interests of the government of the Russian Federation.

Along with it, the bill redefines some previous laws and makes it mandatory for the President to apply new sanctions to Russia in certain cases instead of simply presupposing a possibility of using them.

The new bill ties Trump hand and foot in what concerns the opportunities to use his powers for alleviating or revoking the effective restrictions altogether. The Administration will be able to make such steps upon from the Congress.

Trump will be supposed to notify the legislative branch of power on the plans to change the policies towards Russia considerably with the aid of special reports, which the Congress will review within thirty or sixty days. The results of scrutiny will be reflected in resolutions that will either permit or deny an opportunity for the President to make amendments in Washington’s course towards Russia.

On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow was responding to the sanctions but reducing the number of U.S. diplomatic staff in the embassy in Moscow and the consulates in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok to the total of 455 as of September 1.

It also blocked access to the U.S. diplomatic staff to a dacha in Serebryany Bor on the northwestern outskirts of the city and to a warehouse used by the embassy.