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US Congress sees no need for immediately tightening anti-Russian sanctions — source

The Capitol Hill insider is confident that the anti-Russian sanctions legislation in the United States "will remain in force for a long time"

MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. The United States Congress sees no need for imposing tougher sanctions on Russia straightaway, a well-informed source on Capitol Hill told TASS over the phone. The insider spelled out his view of the situation in the run-up to the Trump administration’s report on implementing the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act due to be received by Congress soon.

More flexibility

"There is an opinion among those in Congress who are generally interested in such things that the current sanctions are tough enough as they are right now," the source said. "And if these people are concerned about something, it is not so much the need to add something to the sanctions act, but the question of what we should do if we need to cooperate [with Russia] more closely. Or if we need more flexibility, for example, in case of implementing the Minsk accords on Ukraine."

He is confident that the US sanctions are "much more related to Russia’s actions in Ukraine" than to the alleged meddling in the US election which Washington has pinned on Moscow.

For decades to come

The Capitol Hill insider was confident that the anti-Russian sanctions legislation in the United States "will remain in force for a long time," possibly, "for decades to come." He proceeds from the premise that the escalation of the sanctions pressure "will be necessary and will occur" in the future. However, what is vital as far as the proponents of this approach are concerned is that "any softening of the sanctions compared to the current level is next to impossible," he stressed.

According to the source, US lawmakers believe that the Trump administration is, by and large, conscientious about implementing the sanctions legislation, while the US Department of the Treasury, which oversees this work, favors "a more comprehensive approach," that is, it adheres to a more decisive method. The US Department of State "is in favor of a more cautious approach," though it plays no leading role, he added.

A new report on the implementation of the sanctions legislation is to be drawn up and submitted to Congress by January 29. According to the source, the timeframe will be observed quite accurately.

Moscow’s stance

Meanwhile, work to prepare new reports on the implementation of the US sanctions legislation is seen by Moscow as just another attempt by Washington to influence the internal situation in Russia in the run-up to the 2018 presidential election.