A bipartisan group of US senators introduced a bill containing new sanctions on Russia over its alleged meddling in US elections and intervention in Ukraine, the latest effort to push US President Donald Trump to ratchet up Washington’s response to Moscow. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the sponsors, called it the “sanctions bill from hell”.
Below are key extracts from the bill formally called Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019, or DASKA, which sent shocks through Russian financial markets when announced. The bill has yet to be reviewed by the Congress. A tougher version failed to pass last year.
WHAT IS DASKA TARGETING?
Alleged cyber activity: 60 days on from enactment of DASKA, the President shall impose sanctions on any person, including any financial institution, which the U.S. President believes is:
* Knowingly engaged in significant transactions with any person in Russia that supports or facilitates malicious cyber activities;
* Knowingly owned or controlled by, or knowingly acts or purports to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, a person that engages in significant transactions described above.
Alleged corruption: 180 days on from the enactment of DASKA, the President shall impose sanctions on:
* Political figures, oligarchs, and other persons that facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of President Putin, and persons acting for or on behalf of such political figures, oligarchs, and persons;
* Russian parastatal entities that facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, behalf of Putin;
* Family members of persons described above or that derive significant benefits from such illicit and corrupt activities; and persons, including financial institutions, engaging in significant transactions with persons mentioned above.
Investments into Russian liquefied natural gas export facilities outside Russia: 180 days on from the enactment of DASKA, the President shall impose sanctions on any person who:
* Directly and significantly contributes to Russia’s ability to construct LNG export facilities outside Russia with investments of $1 million or more.
Energy projects outside Russia: 180 days on from the enactment of DASKA, the President shall impose sanctions on a person if:
* The person knowingly, on or after date of enactment, invests in an energy project outside Russia that is supported by a Russian parastatal entity or an entity owned or controlled by the Russian government;
* And if the project’s value exceeds or is expected to exceed $250 million.
Oil projects in Russia: the President shall impose sanctions on a person if that person on or after the enactment of DASKA sells, leases, or provides to Russia goods, services, technology, financing, or support:
* If goods, services, technology, financing, or support could directly and significantly contribute to Russia’s ability to develop crude oil resources at home and have a market value of $1 million or more;
* Sanctions shall not apply with respect to the maintenance of projects that are ongoing as of the date of the DASKA enactment.
Transactions with new Russia sovereign debt: US persons will be prohibited from engaging in transactions with, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in, Russian sovereign debt issued 90 days on from the enactment of DASKA, including:
* Bonds issued by the central bank, the National Wealth Fund, the finance ministry, or agents or affiliates of any of those entities, with a maturity of more than 14 days;
* Foreign exchange swap agreements with the central bank, the National Wealth Fund, or the finance ministry with a duration of more than 14 days;
* Any other financial instrument, the duration or maturity of which is more than 14 days and that was issued by a Russian financial institution on behalf of the Russian government;
* Or the President determines otherwise represents the sovereign debt of the Russian government.
Russian financial institutions supporting interference in democratic processes or elections: 90 days on from the enactment of DASKA, the President shall impose sanctions:
* On any Russian financial institution that the President believes has, on or after such date of enactment, provided financial or other support for interference by the Russian government in the democratic process or elections of any country other than Russia itself.
* It is the sense of Congress that technology companies, particularly social media companies, share responsibility for ensuring that their platforms are free of disinformation sponsored by the Russian government and other foreign governments.