A group of senators led by Lindsey Graham have introduced a new bill proposing further sanctions against Russia—the latest in what is turning into a string of Russia-sanction legislative efforts—this time focusing on investments in energy projects outside of Russia that Russia’s government supports.
According to a statement by the six senators, the bill seeks to punish Russia for its "continued interference in our elections, malign influence in Syria, aggression in Crimea, and other activities" and targets investments in energy projects supported by the Russian government both in the country and abroad.
According to Senator Graham, "The sanctions and other measures contained in this bill are the most hard-hitting ever imposed—and a direct result of Putin's continued desire to undermine American democracy."
According to S&P Platts, the bill comes amid concern in Senate that President Trump could seek to weaken existing Russian sanctions targeting the country’s vital energy sector.
Besides Graham, the bill, officially known as the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act, or DASKA, is sponsored by five other senators, including Republicans Cory Gardner of Colorado and John McCain of Arizona, and three Democrats, including Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Ben Cardin of Maryland, and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.
Other recent bills targeting Russia also include the Secure America from Russian Interference Act, introduced by a group of Democrats in the Senate, and the DETER Act, sponsored by Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Chris Van Hollen. There is also a bill sponsored by Republican John Barrasso of Wyoming that targets specifically the Nord Stream-2 natural gas project.
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The Secure America from Russian Interference Act, if passed, will put an end to waivers and special licenses that at present, theoretically at least, give U.S. energy companies a way around the original sanctions against Russia introduced by the Obama administration.
Separately, U.S. lawmakers recently called upon the Department of Defense to cut reliance on Russian energy at military bases in Europe, and to introduce sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project.
Defense Logistics Agency data show that close to 40 percent of oil used at military sites in Germany comes from Russia. In southwestern Germany, for example, the Ramstein Air Base serves as the headquarters for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) installation.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.