White House: Obama won't use sanctions authority in legislation penalizing Russia

Associated Press

The White House says President Barack Obama does not plan to immediately impose new economic penalties on Russia.

Officials said earlier this week that Obama would sign new legislation that authorizes more sanctions. But, they said, Obama had concerns that the measure was not in line with his policy of enacting sanctions in tandem with the European Union.

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The bill requires the president to impose penalties on a Russian-state owned arms dealer and other defense companies. However, the legislation gives Obama the ability to waive the sanctions if he determines it is in the nation's national security interests.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest did not say why Obama did not plan to issue sanctions under the law. He said he could eventually do so if circumstances warranted.