The White House has confirmed today that President Obama will sign a bill into law imposing a new round of economic sanctions on Russia and authorizing military aid to Ukraine. The bill was “passed” by “Congress” earlier this week, which is to say the three members of Congress present at the time unanimously agreed to it.
The bill gives President Obama the ability to waive the sanctions against individual companies if he thinks it is in national security interests, and officials said he was pleased with this “flexibility.”
The sanctions are nominally punishment for supporting the rebellion in eastern Ukraine, even though Russia has brokered a ceasefire in the region that is holding.
Despite Russia being the primary driving force behind the ceasefire, and the US not being keen on the truce at all, Secretary of State John Kerry says that the US could lift all sanctions on Russia in a matter of days if they take the “right steps” toward resolving the crisis in eastern Ukraine. What exactly these steps are from the US perspective remain unclear.