WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the Senate passing an amendment Graham sponsored to increase sanctions on Russia. The vote in the Senate was 97-2.
The amendment adopted today imposes comprehensive sanctions on Russia for its cyber intrusions, aggression, and destabilizing activities in the United States and around the world. It also incorporates legislation Graham supported that would require congressional oversight of any decision to ease sanctions on Russia.
- The amendment codifies existing sanctions into law and makes them mandatory.
- Imposes new sanctions on transactions with the Russian defense and intelligence sectors, including the agency primarily responsible for the attack on the 2016 U.S. election.
- Imposes new sanctions that would target the energy sector, which is controlled by Vladimir Putin’s cronies, with sanctions on investments in Russian petroleum and natural gas development as well as Russian energy pipelines.
The amendment also mandates congressional oversight of any decision to provide any relief from these sanctions. Administrations cannot waive or lift these sanctions without certifying that Russia is taking concrete steps toward changing its behavior on the international stage. In particular, Russia needs to begin adhering to the Minsk Protocol, roll-back its occupation of Crimea and destabilizing activities in Ukraine, and cease its cyber operations aimed at undermining democracy in the United States and Europe.
Finally, because of Russia’s repeated attempts to undermine elections and challenge the very foundation of democracy, this legislation authorizes $250 million to support and strengthen democratic institutions in Europe against Russian propaganda and interference.