U.S. Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Hold Russia Accountable

U.S. Senators Bob Menendez, Lindsey Graham, Cory Gardner, Ben Cardin, and Jeanne Shaheen today (Feb 14th) introduced the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019. The comprehensive legislation seeks to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s interference in democratic processes abroad, malign influence in Syria, and aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait.

The legislation establishes a comprehensive policy response to better position the U.S. government to address Kremlin aggression by creating new policy offices on cyber defenses and sanctions coordination.  The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the U.S. out of the Alliance without a Senate vote.  

It also increases sanctions pressure on Moscow for its interference in democratic processes abroad and continued aggression against Ukraine. 

President Trump’s wilful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress… Putin’s actions cannot be tolerated, and the consequences of inaction are quickly compounding – further humanitarian disaster in Syria, regional instability, kidnapping of Ukrainian sailors and seizure of ships, and the steady erosion of international norms. One thing is increasingly clear: Moscow will continue to push until it meets genuine resistance. That is why we are introducing a proposal to actually address the realities of the Kremlin threat in a holistic way, all while sending a crystal clear message to our adversaries that the U.S Congress will protect our institutions, allies and values even if the President chooses not to do so.

Senator Menendez

“Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia.  He should cease and desist meddling in the U.S. electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria,” said 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. The sanctions and measures we propose are designed to respond in the strongest possible fashion.”

Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the U.S.-led liberal global order... From the invasion of Ukraine, carrying out chemical attacks on NATO soil, support for the heinous Assad regime, violations of arms control treaties, and meddling in U.S. elections, Russia’s actions necessitate the strongest possible response from the United States.

Senator Gardner

In addition to a substantial new raft of sanctions against Russian banks, businesses, and individuals, the proposed legislation calls for a report on the net worth and assets of Vladimir Putin: estimates of the Russian leader’s personal wealth range from $70 - 200 billion. 

Many of his assets are known to be dispersed amongst his close Allies, including numerous high profile oligarchs, whose loyalty is assured of due to his patronage. 

How loyal these cronies will be should Putin find himself in troubled waters remains to be seen.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today. 

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon 


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