BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2017/25

Last week the United States Senate voted near-unanimously to approve a bill making it more difficult for the US president to relax or eliminate sanctions on Russia. The package of legislative changes includes new sanctions, tightening of existing sanctions and suggestions on allowing additional new sanctions. New potential sanction targets include Russian export pipeline projects. This has created some uneasiness in Europe as it might have implications for the Russian Nordstream 2 gas pipeline project in which some European companies are participating.

The bill still needs approval from the US House of Representatives and it might be modified. It is currently unclear when the House will vote on the bill after it was sent to the Foreign Affairs Committee for a review. If the bill makes it through both houses, the president must sign it for it to become law. If he chooses to veto the bill instead, Congress can override the president with a two-thirds majority. If the bill passes, its impacts will ultimately depend on how the changes are actually applied.

On Tuesday (June 20), the US announced that it was widening its sanctions regime to include several new Russian and Ukrainian citizens and firms.