01:52 GMT +324 May 2018
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    US Faces 'Two Fronts' as Senate Fights Over Russia Sanctions Bill

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    A bipartisan bill to impose sanctions on Russia over alleged meddling in Ukraine, Syria and the 2016 United States presidential election has been put on hold until the Senate Intelligence Committee completes its investigation, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said.

    "[The Senate will wait] to get some facts [before it can proceed with the bill]… I mean you do have a detailed hearing process and an investigation that’s underway. Does it not make sense to get those facts, let them be known, and deal with it accordingly? I think it does," Corker told The Washington Post newspaper earlier this week.

    According to the newspaper, the bill was introduced in January by Dem. Benjamin Cardin who was supported by Rep. John McCain and another 20 senators. The bill is aimed at systematizing the US sanctions against Russia in place since 2014 over Ukraine and Syria. The document also proposes new restrictive measures over Moscow’s alleged meddling in the US election.

    Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Vladimir Vasilyev, a senior research fellow at the Institute for American and Canadian Studies, at the Russia Academy of Sciences, suggested that Washington is currently facing "two fronts" and does not want to lose in this situation.

    "The US is set for confrontation with North Korea and possibly with China, which affects Russia’s interests. I think this is a situation of two fronts in which sanctions against Russia could further complicate the situation because confrontation with Washington prompts Moscow to boost ties with Beijing. I guess that the main goal of US lawmakers is to prevent this scenario," Vasilyev said.

    However, the expert underscored that sanctions against Russia are not over and new restrictive measures cannot be ruled out.

    "It’s difficult to predict what the Senate could propose. Maybe, there will be some new restrictions against Russia. Probably, there is a pause now but then the matter will be brought up again. It would be in the style of Trump," he said.

    Russian political analyst and specialist in American studies Dmitry Mikheyev told Radio Sputnik that Trump is still uncertain with his strategy on Russia and Senate’s actions depend on the stance of President.

    "As Trump says, he likes to act in an unpredictable manner. First he messes with his partner and then makes concessions and sits down for talks. But how could he mess with Russia? He’s pragmatic. He needs to have a trump card before issuing an ultimatum. He’s very serious about Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has not yet come up with his policy towards Moscow, but the Senate is waiting for his signal on what to do," Mikheyev pointed out.

    Commenting on the probe into the alleged Russian interference in the election, the experts suggested that it is likely to last for long since Washington is not interested in its completing it.

    "If they said that 'Russian hackers' imposed such a choice [Trump’s victory] on the US people this would be a heavy blow to US democracy. They will continue the investigation but there will be no results," the expert said.

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    sanctions, US Senate, Donald Trump, United States, Russia
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