In a move that could complicate Donald Trump’s desire for warmer relations with Moscow, the Senate backed the measure by 98-2. Republican Senator Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, were the only two “no” votes.
The measure is intended to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 US election, its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and support for Syria’s government in the six-year-long civil war.
If passed in the House of Representatives and signed into law by Trump, it would put into law sanctions previously established via former President Barack Obama’s executive orders, including some on Russian energy projects. The legislation also allows new sanctions on Russian mining, metals, shipping and railways and targets Russians guilty of conducting cyber attacks and supplying weapons to Syria’s government.
If the measure became law, it could complicate relations with some countries in Europe. Germany and Austria said the new punitive measures could expose European companies involved in projects in Russia to fines. This could include the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.