US President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a legislation that levies new sanctions against Russia and restricts the President’s own ability to ease sanctions in place against Moscow, a White House official said.
The bill is one of the first major pieces of legislation that was sent to Trump’s desk and it represents a rebuke to the President by giving Congress new veto power to block him from removing Russia sanctions, CNN reported.
Even before Trump signed the bill, the measure prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to retaliate against the US over the new sanctions, which Congress levied over Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election, as well as Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in Syria.
In addition to the new US sanctions on Russia, former President Barack Obama seized two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland in December in response to the election meddling.
Russia responded by ordering the US to cut staff at its diplomatic mission by 755 employees, as well as seizing two US diplomatic properties.
The new sanctions bill hits Russia’s energy and defence sectors, and also includes fresh sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The measure was signed into law after it was passed with overwhelming margins in both the House of Representatives and Senate.