Recent bills with new sanctions against Russia and increased support for Ukraine could be passed pretty quickly, but some points need to be amended.
Kurt Volker, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, said this in an interview with Ukrinform.
“There are a few things in the bills that the White House does not support, including some automaticity of some of the sanctions,” he said.
Volker noted that the White House wants to preserve the freedom of the president’s executive powers, including the possibility of making certain exceptions to sanctions.
“If the administration and the Democratic leadership – because both chambers are controlled by the Democrats – work out some changes to the bills that preserve their intent, that preserve increasing support to Ukraine and a clear statement of support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and so on, I suspect that they could pass pretty quickly,” Volker said.
In this regard, he explained that “the Republicans’ support is there, the Democrats just don’t want to be crossing the administration.”
“But if they can work something out with the administration, I think it would go quickly,” he said.
At the same time, Volker noted that the White House is able to impose sanctions on Russia on its own, without any agreement with Congress. “The administration actually already has the authority it needs to impose more sanctions if they want. They don’t need the legislation,” he stressed.
A group of influential Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 10 initiated a bill to ensure Ukraine’s independence by strengthening its defense (GUARD), which proposes to grant Ukraine NATO Plus status, as well as impose sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.