Former NATO Chief welcomes Senate agreement on Russia sanctions

US-Russia relations cannot get better until they get tougher, according to former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has today welcomed the bipartisan deal reached in the Senate to strengthen and codify sanctions against Russia. The agreement reached late last night would allow for Congressional review of any effort to waive or ease sanctions, […]

US-Russia relations cannot get better until they get tougher, according to former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has today welcomed the bipartisan deal reached in the Senate to strengthen and codify sanctions against Russia.

The agreement reached late last night would allow for Congressional review of any effort to waive or ease sanctions, and codify the sanctions into law. They also impose new sanctions on Russia, including on “individuals conducting malicious cyber activity.”

In response, Mr Rasmussen, who now serves as an adviser to Ukrainian President Poroshenko, said:

“Russia continues to up the ante and the US cannot afford to be idle in its response. Since sanctions were imposed in 2014 Russia has continued aggressing neighbouring Ukraine, and it has repeatedly undermined Western institutions and elections.

“There is only one way for US-Russia relations to get better, and that is for them to first get tougher. The Senate is showing American global leadership. It will buttress EU leaders as they decide whether to maintain or strengthen Russia sanctions next week.

“Just a few months ago we were fighting a rear-guard campaign to stop US-Russia sanctions from being eased, with disastrous consequences for the global security order. We’ve come a long way, and now the Administration can enthusiastically support this Bill to send a strong signal of intent to Moscow.

“Stronger sanctions are only one piece of the puzzle. The trigger for sanctions was Russia’s invasion of Crimea and sponsorship of a proxy war in Eastern Ukraine. We should back up signals with actions to support Ukraine in defending itself from aggression, and as it seeks to bring about a ceasefire. This will need more than stronger sanctions; it will need America to play an engaged role in negotiating and enforcing a settlement that has so far eluded European allies.”

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