Sullivan Ban on Russian Seafood Imports Included in Senate GOP Sanctions Package

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) today highlighted the inclusion of a provision in the newly-introduced Never Yielding Europe’s Territory (NYET) Act that directs the federal government to prohibit Russian seafood imports to the U.S. The NYET Act would provide critical support to Ukraine to defend itself and deter Russian aggression, while also imposing real costs on the Kremlin for its ongoing and potential future aggression against Ukraine. The Sullivan-authored provision is based in large part on standalone legislation introduced last week by Sullivan and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to ban Russian seafood imports until the Russians revoke their own embargo and restore a fair and reciprocal seafood trade relationship. The provision and the legislation are the culmination of years of work by Sen. Sullivan.

“Russia’s ongoing, unanswered embargo of U.S. seafood products is simply wrong and should be top of mind in Congress and at the White House as we weigh potential consequences for Vladimir Putin’s escalating threats against Ukraine,” said Sen. Sullivan. “This is the case I’ve been making to every senator, every cabinet secretary, and every administration official who will hear me. Today, we achieved a breakthrough, with the ban I proposed on Russian seafood imports being included in Senate Republicans’ sanctions proposal. Our legislation makes it clear to Putin that if he continues in his aggressive campaign against Ukraine, the United States is prepared to respond with devastating economic and military costs. I thank my colleagues for standing with our fishermen and this critical sector of the economy as we all work together to deter further Russian aggression against our European allies.” 

In addition to Sullivan and Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, other senators cosponsoring the NYET Act include: Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), John Kennedy (R-La.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and John Thune (R-S.D.). 

Among other measures, the NYET Act:

  • Immediately stops construction of the Nord Stream 2 project and would mandate sanctions on the project without a waiver should Russia invade. Prior to an invasion, the bill suspends sanctions for as long as the German government continues to suspend the certification process. 
  • Sends a clear deterrent message to Putin that an invasion of Ukraine will result in massive economic consequences to Russia’s economy, including: 
    • Sanctions on major Russian banks; and
    • Secondary sanctions on banks that continue business with sanctioned Russian banks.
  • Sanctions Putin’s cronies, enablers, and major banks before Russia further invades Ukraine to ensure Putin pays a price now for hybrid attacks already launched.
  • Allows any chairman or ranking member of a national security committee to force a determination from the president on whether Russia’s aggression against Ukraine constitutes a major escalation and fulfills conditions to trigger sanctions. 

In the interest of supporting Ukraine before, during, and after any Russian escalation, the legislation:

  • Provides $500 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Ukraine, including $250 million in emergency funding, with $100 million for emergency lethal assistance for critical capabilities like air defense, anti-armor, and anti-ship capabilities.
  • Creates a new Ukraine Resistance Fund to help Ukraine resist attempts to occupy or subjugate any new territory Russia seizes, while sending a clear message to Putin that his military will pay a price for advances into sovereign Ukrainian territory.
  • Authorizes a new Lend-Lease authority for Ukraine.
  • Expedites congressional review of arms sales and security assistance to Ukraine.

Finally, to counter Russia’s malign influence and aggression throughout Europe, the NYET Act:

  • Doubles funding for U.S. military exercises in Europe.
  • Creates a new State Department FMF program for Eastern Europe to help European allies strengthen their own defensive capabilities and incentivize greater burden-sharing.
  • Boosts funding for State Department efforts to counter Russian disinformation, including the Global Engagement Center, and expands broadcasting by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 

Text of the NYET Act can be found here

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