Date
14 December 2018
Potential new sanctions on Russia could target the sovereign debt and the oligarchs, according to Mike Crapo, who heads the US Senate Banking Committee. Photo: Bloomberg
Potential new sanctions on Russia could target the sovereign debt and the oligarchs, according to Mike Crapo, who heads the US Senate Banking Committee. Photo: Bloomberg

US lawmakers mull sanctions on Russian oligarchs, sovereign debt

US lawmakers discussing possible new sanctions on Russia for meddling in US elections and other international actions said on Thursday they may consider measures targeting the country’s sovereign debt or wealthy and politically connected business leaders, Reuters reports.

“Sovereign debt and increased focus on oligarchs are two areas that seem to have broad support for us to look at further ratcheting up our responses,” Senator Mike Crapo, the Republican chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, was quoted as saying during a hearing.

Thursday’s hearing was the second of three on Russian sanctions scheduled by the banking panel after US President Donald Trump declined at a July summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin to publicly condemn Russia for interfering in the 2016 US elections.

The Russian ruble fell to its weakest level in two and a half years on Thursday, pressured by fears of more Western sanctions after Britain revealed details about the Salisbury nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter.

In recent months, US lawmakers have introduced various pieces of Russia-related legislation, including the “Deter Act,” to set out punishments for election meddling, and what one lawmaker called a sanctions bill “from hell” to punish Moscow for cyber-crime and its activities in Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere.

But the measures are still many steps from becoming law.

Some members of Congress have questioned the wisdom of more sanctions given, as they see it, the failure of existing measures to change Russia’s behavior, and risks that sanctions against Russia could affect other nations or the global economy, the report noted.

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