New Russian sanctions bill to be signed by end of week – White House
A new bill imposing further sanctions on Russia is to be signed by US President Barack Obama by the end of the week, a White House spokesman told a news briefing Tuesday.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that Obama is expected to sign new legislation this week despite preliminary concerns about its content. “I would anticipate that it would get done before the end of the week,” he said.
However, he said that the bill has provided a degree of flexibility required by the president.
“That said, because it does preserve the president's flexibility to carry out the strategy, he does intend to sign the bill,” Earnest said.
Obama was under pressure from both Republicans and Democrats after the Senate granted final approval to the bill late Saturday. The bill will see some $350 million provided to Ukraine by way of assistance.
“On behalf of the people’s House, I urge President Obama to sign this bipartisan legislation,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement on Monday.
READ MORE: US destroying foundation of cooperation: Moscow slams ‘anti-Russian’ Ukraine bill
The bill would additionally require the further imposition of conditional sanctions on the defense sector, such as penalties on state-owned arms dealer Rosoboronexport (among other defense companies) as well as connected individuals.
The 'Ukraine Freedom Support Act' does not make sanctions fully obligatory and allows Obama to have power over which parts of the bill to enforce.
However, "it does send a confusing message to our allies because it includes some sanctions language that does not reflect the consultations that are ongoing," Earnest said.
The new sanctions come amid concerns over the stability of the Russian ruble, which nosedived Tuesday following a decline in oil prices and previous rounds of sanctions imposed by both the US and the EU.
READ MORE: Ruble plummets losing more than 20% in a day, hitting new dollar and euro lows