Skip to Content

Capitol, Washington. Wikipedia

Senators from both US parties push for fresh sanctions against Russia

US senators from both main parties are preparing additional sanctions against Russia, despite the Senate Intelligence Committee having uncovered no direct evidence of collusion between the President Trump's campaign and Russia.

Published: February 16, 2019, 1:46 pm

    Senators Bob Menendez and Lindsey Graham are both pushing the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act, which includes a wide range of financial penalties targeting Russia’s energy complex, financial industry and “political figures, oligarchs, and family members and other persons that facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of Vladimir Putin”.

    The Independent reported that the new threats of sanctions sent the Russian stock and government bond markets in a tailspin at the end of the week, while Russia’s debt insurance costs and currency volatility spiked.

    The Act also includes support for NATO, proposing a required two-thirds majority in the Senate to make it harder for the US to leave the alliance. Plans to make it easier to transfer military hardware to NATO countries are also part of the move.

    The global economy is rapidly slowing, and in 2019 a geopolitical flare-up seems increasingly likely. New sanctions suggest that the US will soon intensify its economic war against Russia.

    Moscow has expressed anger and frustration over new US sanctions, and the Kremlin accused Washington of “racketeering”. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. “We see clear symptoms of emotional Russophobia.

    “But behind the emotions … is an entirely pragmatic, assertive trade calculation, and … nothing less than an attempt to engage in dishonest competition.”

    Frants Klintsevich, a member of the Defence and Security Committee of Russia’s upper house, called the prospect of new sanctions a “dangerous habit” similar to “smoking a pipe before breakfast, poisoning all those around”.

    The head of Russia’s largest bank and its former economics minister, Herman Gref, noted that the sanctions would be bad for the already slowing economy. “We need to prepare for the very worst of situations,” Gref said.

    Reuters meanwhile reported last month that Russian mercenaries were dispatched to Venezuela to provide security for President Nicolas Maduro as he struggles to deal with a coup led by Washington.

    The contractors are believed to be from the Wagner Group, a group of private contractors that have been fighting in Syria and the Ukraine.

    Russia, which has invested billions of dollars in Venezuela, has pledged to stand by the embattled Maduro. Yevgeny Shabayev, leader of a local chapter of a paramilitary group told Reuters he had heard the number of security contractors in Venezuela was roughly 400.

    Russia’s defense ministry and Venezuela’s information ministry haven’t responded to requests for comment yet. Kremlin spokesman Peskov said they had “no such information” about the contractors.

    Maduro hit out at the United States on Friday for “stealing” billions of dollars and offering “crumbs” in return as humanitarian aid, as Washington moved to sanction five officials close to the Venezuelan leader.

    “They have stolen $30 billion and are offering four crumbs of rotten food,” said Maduro.

    Tons of US aid is piling up in Venezuela’s neighbour Colombia, as opposition leader Juan Guaido hopes to benefit from Washingston’s meddling. Guaido has so far been recognised by 50 countries as the interim president.

    But Maduro has described Guaido, a National Assembly speaker, as a “puppet” of the US, which is trying to secure access to Venezuela’s gold and vast oil reserves – the largest in the world. He called Guaido’s challenge to his authority “treason”.

    The New York Times admitted that the Venezuelan opposition had created immense expectations, but that “it’s not at all clear they have a plan for actually fulfilling them”. Other opposition parties were never informed of Guaido’s plan to declare himself president, and their support have been tepid.

    They may in the end join in the mediation talks Maduro has offered and which the UN, Uruguay and Mexico also support.

    EU diplomats have meanwhile agreed to impose asset freezes and visa bans on a number of Russians involved in the capture and detention of 24 Ukrainian seamen during an incident near the Kerch Strait in November, sources told RFE/RL.

    EU foreign ministers have not yet discussed Ukraine and they will meet in Brussels only on February 18, but the sanctions are expected to be approved by EU ambassadors later this month anyway. The timing of fresh sanctions appears to coincide with elections to be held in the Ukraine soon.

    EU sanctions are believed to be targeting eight individuals who are either Russian officers involved in the Kerch Strait incident or Russian judges who oversaw the subsequent detention of the Ukrainians.


    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.


    Americans are winning in the obesity stakes

    The Americans are true winners in at least one category: Obesity levels have reached nearly 40 percent in parts of the United States.

    Amazon Fires ignite Cold War

    It is not only the war between the "Western community of values“ and Russia that is raging but, more recently, between France and Brazil - or, more precisely between French President Emmanuel Macron and his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro. It's about morality and ideology.

    Is Greta Thunberg listening to science?

    New YorkArriving in New York on Wednesday, August 28, the young activist Greta Thunberg immediately attacked Donald Trump. He is guilty, according to her, of refusing "to listen to science". But is Greta herself listening to science?

    In less than 2 decades over 100 US counties have become non-white

    More than one hundred counties in the US "went from majority white to majority nonwhite" in almost two decades, new research shows.

    Globalists plan to hide wealth gap with divisive social issues

    New data about the enormous gap between the compensation growth of American corporate executives and American workers, shows just how staggering the divide is. Corporate leaders however, would like to hide that fact.

    Ohio shooter was spotted with same gun at Antifa rally in May

    The Antifa Dayton mass shooter Connor Betts attended an Antifa rally in May armed with a gun "which appeared to be similar in style to the one used in Sunday's shooting".

    Mainstream media mistranslates Iranian quote about Trump’s ‘retardation’

    WashingtonAt least two major news agencies mistranslated a speech by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, maintaining that he called President Donald Trump "mentally retarded".

    Merkel receives Harvard doctorate for her most unpopular slogan

    Cambridge, MAGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has received an honorary doctorate from the US elite university Harvard from her fellow globalists for illegally opening her country's borders.

    No wall: Illegal immigration surging under Trump

    WashingtonConservative American political pundit Ann Coulter accused President Trump of allowing illegal imigrants to pour into the country. Coulter said Trump had failed to deliver on his biggest campaign promise.

    Trump’s approval ratings have hit record lows

    WashingtonMany American voters surveyed in a new poll no longer approve of the job Donald Trump is doing as president. Only 39 percent supported their leader, Trump’s lowest-ever approval score.

    Go to archive