U.S. diplomat Nuland names conditions for easing sanctions against Russian lawmakers
Nuland during a hearing on countering Russian aggression in the Senate (Photo:Video frame c-span.org)
Russia would need to withdraw its forces from Ukraine and return occupied territory before the U.S. would consider easing sanctions on Russian MPs, U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said during a hearing on countering Russian aggression on Capitol Hill on Jan. 26.
“In the context of a Russian decision to negotiate seriously and withdraw its forces from Ukraine and return territory, I would certainly favor it,” she said in response to a question posed by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
“I believe Senator (Antony) Blinken would as well.”
Nuland’s response to Senator Paul was widely spread by Russian media, who interpreted the answer as a “proposal” or “statement.”
Paul suggested concluding an agreement with Russia on the mutual lifting of sanctions against U.S. legislators and Russian MPs. He appealed to the fact that sanctions against Russian lawmakers had been imposed over their “certain beliefs” (i.e. they support the war against Ukraine, the occupation and illegal annexation of its territories), and this makes dialogue and “legislative exchange” difficult.
Paul is widely seen as a supporter of former U.S. president Donald Trump’s wing of the Republican Party, which has supported Russian narratives, while his father, former congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), was called by the late Senator John McCain in 2016 an agent of the Kremlin for opposing Montenegrin accession to NATO.
Rand Paul has also criticized special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and travelled to Moscow in 2018 with a confidential letter from Donald Trump.
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