WASHINGTON Jan 10 Senior U.S. Republican and
Democratic senators will introduce legislation on Tuesday
seeking to impose a wide range of sanctions on Russia over its
cyber activities and actions in Syria and Ukraine.
The legislation is sponsored by Republican Senator John
McCain and Democrats Ben Cardin and Robert Menendez, all
influential legislators on foreign policy matters. Aides said
several other senators, both Democrats and Republicans, are also
expected to sponsor the legislation, increasing its chances of
According to a preliminary summary of the legislation seen
by Reuters, the bill would impose visa bans and freeze the
assets of people "who engage in significant activities
undermining the cybersecurity of public or private
infrastructure and democratic institutions" or assist in such
It would also impose secondary sanctions on those who engage
with the Russian defense or intelligence sectors, which could
affect international companies doing business with Russia. It
also puts into law sanctions on Russia that President Barack
Obama imposed via executive order late last month.
U.S. lawmakers have long called for a tougher response to
Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and intervention
in the Syrian civil war on behalf of Syrian President Bashar
Their impatience has increased since U.S. intelligence
agencies said Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a
campaign to try to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor
of Republican businessman Donald Trump.
The bill also sets new sanctions over Ukraine and Syria,
including putting into law four executive orders from the Obama
administration sanctioning Russia over its actions in Crimea and
eastern Ukraine. Among other things, it would mandate sanctions
on investments of $20 million or more in Russia's ability to
develop its petroleum and natural gas resources.
The bill is being introduced a day before the U.S. Senate
Foreign Relations Committee holds its confirmation hearing for
Trump's nominee to be secretary of state, former Exxon Mobil
chief executive Rex Tillerson.
Many lawmakers from both parties have raised questions about
the decades Tillerson spent working with Russia's government as
an executive at the oil company, and his ties to Putin. His
hearing, set for Wednesday and Thursday, is expected to largely
focus on those issues.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Andrew Hay)