U.S. Senate committee to consider bill to impose stiff new sanctions on Russia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote as soon as next week on legislation that would impose stiff new sanctions on Russia over its meddling in U.S. elections and aggression against Ukraine, a committee spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The Republican-led committee has scheduled a business meeting on Dec. 11 where it will consider legislation including the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act,” known as DASKA, she said.

The bill was introduced in February by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and other members of the foreign relations panel.

Targets of the proposed sanctions include: Russian banks that support efforts to interfere in foreign elections; the country’s cyber sector; new sovereign debt; and individuals deemed to “facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin.”

The bill also would impose several strict measures on Russia’s oil and gas sector, which makes up about 40% of the Russian government’s revenue, including sanctioning people who provide goods, services or financing to support the development of crude oil in the country.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Stephen Coates