The House of Representatives wants to cut the Pentagon’s military-to-military cooperation with Russia. The provisions included in a $618.7 billion defense budget bill impose strict conditions for the US military on working with its Russian counterparts.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets policy for the Department of Defense for the next year, has been approved by a vote of 375-34.
The measure would allocate $618.7 billion, including extra $3.2 billion on top of what President Obama requested for the Pentagon, was agreed after months of heated debates.
Tucked in the middle of the legislation is a whole section dedicated to “matters relating” to Russia, more than lawmakers devoted to Islamic State, NATO or cooperation with Europe combined.
The bill lays out a set of conditions, which the DOD would have to abide by in case it wants or has to deal with Russia.
Specifically, the bill bans the Pentagon from using Congress-approved funds “for bilateral military-to-military cooperation between the governments of the United States and Russia” unless the DOD proves to Capital Hill that Moscow “ceased its occupation of Ukrainian territory and its aggressive activities that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”
The Department would also have to “certify” to Congress that Russia“is abiding by the terms of and taking steps in support of the Minsk Protocols regarding a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.”
However, the lawmakers did not entirely close the door to military cooperation with Moscow.