Last week President Obama signed new Congressional legislation that potentially expands US sanctions on the Russian energy and armaments sectors as well as provides new military aid to the government of Ukraine. This marked the first time that US legislators have taken the lead on imposing punitive measures on Moscow. All previous American sanctions have been enacted through executive order. The White House had apparently hoped to forestall the Congressional measures–in part because they run counter to some European efforts. However, as they passed with next to no opposition, a Presidential veto was untenable. RBC Capital Markets Research notes:
- The US Congress has finally waded into the Russian sanctions arena, passing legislation that provides the President with a menu of new punitive options to employ against Moscow.
- The fate of the extraterritorial energy sanctions bears particularly close watching, because they could sharply restrict foreign investment in key sectors and potentially further slow the growth of Russian oil production over the medium term.
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