New US sanctions on Russia could complicate the Trump administration’s relations with the Kremlin, as the president-elect seeks to warm relations while other US officials insist on harsh punishments for election meddling.

Boris Zilberman, a Russia expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said increased sanctions from the US are “clearly … meant to throw a wrench into next [administration’s] dealings with Moscow.”

While President-elect Donald Trump has seemed to cozy up to Russia, the current administration’s dealings with the country have deteriorated. And politicians in Congress might not be so willing to strengthen ties with the Kremlin in light of accusations of Russia hacking the US.

“Practically speaking, [Trump] is likely to face internal administration pressures as well as pressures from Republicans on Capitol Hill who would actually like to do more to counter Russia,” Zilberman told Business Insider in an email. “That is where the fight will likely be.”

President Barack Obama issued new sanctions against Russia on Thursday, calling Russia’s “malicious cyber-enabled activities” a “national emergency” aimed at undermining “democratic processes.”


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