New Russian Sanctions Bill to be Signed by End of Week – White House

New Russian Sanctions Bill to be Signed by End of Week – White House
Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:19:51

US President Barack Obama will sign anti-Russia sanctions into law, the White House says.

"The president does intend to sign the bill," spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Tuesday, adding, "it does preserve the president's flexibility to carry out this strategy."

Earnest’s announcement followed a unanimous approval of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, which includes more sanctions against Moscow on the pretext of support for pro-Russian protests in eastern Ukraine.

The White House spokesman said the new sanctions were meant to “sharpen the choice” that Russian President Vladimir Putin faces, adding that Obama was likely to sign the bill this week.

The legislation authorizes the US president to provide lethal aid to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, ammunition, and "tactical troop-operated surveillance drones."

It will also impose penalties on Russia’s state-owned arms dealer Rosoboronexport and other Russian defense companies.

On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lashed out at the US Congress, describing Washington’s move as a "hostile" act.

The legislation, which was passed unanimously in the US Senate and House of Representatives, does not legally require Obama to take action in this regard.

In recent months, Western states have imposed sanctions on Moscow’s financial and energy sectors along with a number of Russian nationals close to President Vladimir Putin.

The West accuses Moscow of having a hand in the crisis in eastern Ukraine, which erupted when Kiev launched military operations in April to silence pro-Russia protests in the east. However, the Kremlin rejects the accusation.

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