The document also foresees sanctional exemptions for countries wishing to switch from Russian weapons to US.
The US House of Representatives passed $716 billion defense authorization bill.
The document, in particular, provides for the allocation of $ 250 million to provide lethal military assistance to Ukraine and introduces incentive measures for countries that are ready to buy US weapons instead of Russian ones.
The bill, which must be approved by the Senate, passed the House by a vote of 359-54.
According to the bill the countries buying Russian weapon but now intend to switch to American ones can expect non-introducing US sanctions.
This provision was included in the national defense appropriation bill at the request of Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
It’s about sanctions, introduction of which requires the Law on Countering America’s Enemies through Sanctions, adopted by the overwhelming majority of members of Congress last year.
This law aims to punish Moscow for destabilizing actions, including interference in elections, it contains a section requiring sanctions against those who deal with the Russian defense industry.
But last week Mattis sent a letter to Congress, saying that although “Russia should suffer consequences for its aggressive, destabilizing behavior” it was “imperative” for them to grant Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the authority to waive these sanctions.
Mattis said this waiver authority would allow countries “to build a closer security relationship with the US as they continue to transition from reliance on Russian military equipment” and that failing to do risked leaving these nations with “no other option than to turn to Russia, thereby undermining a once in a generation opportunity to more closely align nations with the US vision for global security and stability”, said the head of the Pentagon.
Mattis is particularly concerned about countries like India, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Under the new authority, purchases of new equipment, like the Russian-made S-400 air defense system, would still face potential sanctions, while the maintenance of legacy systems such as the purchase of replacement parts for Russian-made helicopters could be exempted through the waiver process.
The final version of the bill specifies the criteria for such exceptions. Applicants for an exemption from the sanctions regime must prove that they are not the Russian intelligence service, do nothing that could undermine multilateral organizations such as NATO, do nothing to undermine US operations, as well as US technologies designed for defense cooperation, officials said.
When this is proved, the country should also show that it meets one of two criteria: significantly reducing its dependence on Russia or significantly increasing its cooperation with the United States.
As in previous years, the bill “prohibits military-to-military cooperation with Russia”, says a brief statement issued by Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
The report, which represents a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the defense bill, also funds the Trump administration’s plan to develop a lower-yield ballistic missile warhead aimed at deterring Russia.
It also supports Trump’s request for $250 million for lethal defensive aid to Ukraine and $6.3 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative “to further increase number of US troops in Europe…and deter Russian aggression”.
The White House welcomed the adoption of the bill, noting the importance of military man wage increasing.
The other provisions in the bill prohibit the F-35 fighters supplying to Turkey. U.S. officials have warned Ankara that a Russian missile defense system that Turkey plans to buy cannot be integrated into the NATO system.
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