Trump to Sign Russia Sanctions

Trump to Sign Russia SanctionsTrump to Sign Russia Sanctions

US President Donald Trump will sign legislation that imposes sanctions on Russia, the White House said on Friday, after Moscow ordered the United States to cut hundreds of diplomatic staff and said it would seize two US diplomatic properties in retaliation for the bill.

The US Senate had voted almost unanimously on Thursday to slap new sanctions on Russia, forcing Trump to choose between a tough position on Moscow and effectively dashing his stated hopes for warmer ties with the country or to veto the bill amid investigations in possible collusion between his campaign and Russia, Reuters reported.

By signing the bill into law, Trump cannot ease the sanctions against Russia unless he seeks congressional approval. Moscow's retaliation, announced by the foreign ministry on Friday, had echoes of the Cold War. If confirmed that Russia's move would affect hundreds of staff at the US embassy, it would far outweigh the Obama administration's expulsion of 35 Russians in December.

The legislation was in part a response to conclusions by US intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, and to further punish Russia for its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Relations were already languishing at a post-Cold War low because of the allegations that Russian cyber interference in the election was intended to boost Trump's chances, something Moscow flatly denies. Trump has denied any collusion between his campaign and Russian officials.

Caption: Russia cuts US diplomat corps in backlash against new sanctions.


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