MOSCOW — A bill that would slap new economic sanctions on Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election is hung up in the Senate. Some senators consider the bill too broad because it targets North Korea and Iran as well. 

Understandably, the Russians don’t like it either. Some of America’s European allies are also opposed.

Senior Russian officials say the new sanctions make “no sense” and move already tense U.S. relations into “uncharted territory.”

Andrei Kortunov, director of a prominent Russian think tank, told CBS News that Russians aren’t happy being “thrown into the same basket” as Iran and North Korea.


Andrei Kortunov

CBS News

“So basically the signal is that you three bad guys, you will get the same treatment from the United States Congress, and with all due respect, but Russia is not North Korea,” Kortunov said.

But the sanctions also have some unintended consequences. The bill, as written now, targets any company that contributes to the maintenance or construction of Russia’s energy export pipelines. Instead of just punishing the Russians, they snare European and American business in their web.

The vast Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany has huge financial stakes for more than a dozen European energy companies. 

“‘America first’ cannot mean Europe’s interests come last” complained Jean Claude Juncker, the EU’s chief executive.

Alexis Rodzianko, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow, said American companies would also pay a price.

“The ability to do business of large U.S. investment banks and global investment banks has been affected the most by sanctions,” Rodzianko said.

Nobody knows how Russian President Vladimir Putin will react, but a Kremlin spokesman said Wednesday that Putin will wait until the new measures become law and then act accordingly.

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