The House of Representatives of the US Congress approved the draft defense budget, its amount reached $ 778 billion. The document provides for new restrictions against the already completed Nord Stream 2, sanctions on the secondary market for Russian debt securities, as well as a recommendation to consider the introduction of personal restrictions on 35 Russians. including Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov.
The House of Represen-tatives approved the draft US defense budget for the next fiscal year (starting O-ctober 1, 2021). The initiative was supported by 316 lawmakers, 113 were against. The White House requested $ 753 billion for defense needs.In the course of consultations, this amount was increased to $ 778 billion, while the volume of the defense budget for the current fiscal year (ends September 30) is about $ 740 billion.
Now the Senate must approve its version of the draft, after which a commission will be convened to agree on the details of the two projects. Both chambers will again have to vote for the agreed document, and only then it will be sent to the president for signature. This process can take several months.
Crimea, Nord Stream 2, military alliances
The budget includes several amendments related to Russia. In particular, it provides for sanctions on the secondary market for debt securities of the Russian Federation, new restrictions against the already completed Nord Stream 2 and the persons involved in the implementation of this project.
According to Ivan Tim-ofeev, program director of the Russian International Affairs Council, if the amendment on the state debt works, the situation will not be catastrophic for Moscow. “First, so far the bill does not say anything about secondary sanctions against foreign buyers of Russian debt. Secondly, there is a risk for the American investors themselves, who will be limited in comparison with other bidders for the purchase,” the Kommersant newspaper quotes his opinion.
Congressmen also intend to extend the ban on cooperation between the Pentagon and the Russian Ministry of Defense. At the same time, it is proposed to extend the restriction on the use of budgetary funds for “performing any actions within the framework of which the sovereignty of Russia over Crimea is recognized.” At the same time, it is envisaged that the US Secretary of Defense, together with the Secretary of State, can obtain permission for non-compliance with these requirements under certain conditions – if the head of the Pentagon considers that this is “in the national interests of the United States.”
It is expected that no later than April 1, 2022, legislators will be presented with a report on “Russian influence operations and campaigns that target US military alliances and partnerships.”
The document also contains a recommendation to consider imposing sanctions against 35 Russians. The list, in particular, inc-ludes Russian Prime Min-ister Mikhail Mishustin, Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, businessmen Roman Abra-movich and Alisher Usm-anov, FS-B Director Alexander Bor-tnikov, Head of the Inv-estigative Committee Alex-ander Bastrykin, Health Minister Mikhail Mura-shko, Moscow Mayor Ser-gei Sobyanin, Gazprom A-lexey Miller, head of the Central Election Commiss-ion Ella Pamfilova, and editor-in-chief of the RT TV channel Margarita Sim-onyan, TV presenter Vladi-mir Soloviev and others.
According to the House of Representatives Committee on Procedural Affairs, “they all have to do with human rights violations.” They may be barred from entering the United States. The amendment also implies a freeze of their assets in the United States, the cancellation of valid vi-sas, and a ban for American citizens and companies to conduct transactions with those on the list.
“I’m flattered. Without sanctions in our time, it is already somehow even indecent for a decent person. Moreover, such a great company. I invite my colleagues to celebrate this international recognition of services to the Motherland together, ”commented Margarita Simonyan on her inclusion in this list.
Dmitry Peskov, in turn, called such initiatives “intra-parliamentary exercises.” “The fact that there are a huge number of people in the Congress in various commissions who are poorly versed in Russian reality, but at the same time do not like our country fiercely, is no secret to anyone,” said the press secretary of the Russian president.