"Sanctions relief must be earned, not given".
Trump's open admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and promises to rebuild frayed USA ties with Moscow have raised questions over his commitment to maintaining sanctions against Russia for its involvement in fighting in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and Sen.
The under-the-radar moves underscore the growing concern on the Hill that Trump's openness to Vladimir Putin could prompt the United States to rebuild diplomatic ties with Russia, despite Washington's furious opposition to a host of Russian actions, including its annexation of Crimea and alleged cyberattacks during the US election.
One gauge for determining whether Moscow gets relief from sanctions, the senators say, is the Minsk Protocol - a cease-fire agreement struck between Russian and Ukrainian leaders six months after Crimea's annexation. And it comes as lawmakers in both parties have pushed back at Trump's comments over the weekend, when he seemed to equate United States military actions with violence spawned by Putin's government. The most recent sanctions were imposed by President Barack Obama in December after the intelligence community concluded that Russian Federation hacked emails during the 2016 presidential election in an attempt to help Trump.
When asked about his stance on sanctions at his confirmation hearing in January, Tillerson said he would "recommend maintaining the status quo until we are able to engage with Russian Federation and understand better what their intentions are". ExxonMobil, led by Tillerson at the time, lobbied for the U.S.to lift sanctions on Russian Federation following its invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014.
"It's not an attack against President Trump", Sen.
Trump's allegation that the senators are "always looking to start World War III" highlights the vast difference between mainstream foreign policy beliefs held by Republican lawmakers and those promoted by the Trump administration.
In addition to McCaskill, Graham and Cardin, the legislation is supported by Sens.