By Kristina Wong - 04/15/14 06:09 PM EDT
A group of 11 lawmakers on Tuesday called for members of NATO to end end all defense contracts with Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
The bipartisan group sent a letter to Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryOvernight Defense: Congress overrides Obama 9/11 veto | Pentagon breathes easy after funding deal | More troops heading to Iraq McCain, Graham mock Kerry's threat to end talks with Russia The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE asking him to urge members of NATO, including the U.S., and the Organization of Security and Cooperation Europe (OSCE), to cut ties with Russian military companies.
"We believe this is a crucial step in reestablishing a deterrent against further Russian aggression and strengthening the impact of our targeted economic sanctions against Russia," they wrote.
The lawmakers said "significant bilateral trade in military equipment continues" between NATO and OSCE members despite the Ukraine conflict.
The United Kingdom, for example, started an agreement with Russia in January 2014 that would pave the way for UK and Russian companies and arms producers to cooperate, the lawmakers said.
France has continued a contract to sell two high-tech Mistral warships to Russia, and the Hungarian Ministry of Defense recently bought three Mi-8 transport helicopters from Russian state-arms dealer Rosoboronexport.
The U.S., meanwhile, has a contract with Rosoboronexport to provide the Afghan military with 22 more Mi-17 helicopters.
The lawmakers signing the letter included Sens. Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalLeahy wants Judiciary hearing on Yahoo Obama defeat is Schumer victory Overnight Cybersecurity: FBI probes possible hack of Dems' phones | Trump's '400-pound hacker' | Pressure builds on Yahoo | Poll trolls run wild MORE (D-Conn.), John CornynJohn CornynCongress steamrolls Obama's veto 78 lawmakers vote to sustain Obama veto Senators already eyeing changes to 9/11 bill after veto override MORE (R-Tex.), Roger WickerRoger WickerGOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase GOP to Obama: Sanction Chinese entities to get to North Korea Senate GOP pressures Dems for deal on internet fight MORE (R-Miss.), Ben CardinBen CardinSenators already eyeing changes to 9/11 bill after veto override State official hints more Chinese firms being probed for N. Korean ties Reid is sole senator to back Obama's 9/11 veto MORE (D-Md.), Chris MurphyChris MurphyCould Snapchat be the digital bridge to younger voters? Saudi skeptics gain strength in Congress Dems to McConnell: Bring up Trump tax bill MORE (D-Conn.), David VitterDavid VitterGOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase Louisiana needs Caroline Fayard as its new senator Louisiana Republicans: This isn’t like Sandy MORE (R-La.) and Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteSenate passes funding bill to avoid shutdown Ryan optimistic about GOP majorities in House and Senate Dems gain upper hand on budget MORE, as well as Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Michael BurgessMichael BurgessCommerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee pursues an active agenda Lawmakers press concerns over fuel efficiency rules Conservative committee wants House to vote first on funding bill MORE (R-Tex.).
Also on Tuesday, Ayotte renewed her call for imposing immediate sanctions on Russia's banking and financial sector. She is currently drafting a bill that would also sanction its energy sector.
Her provision would also provide Ukraine forces with aid including medical supplies, clothing, more Meals Ready to Eat, communications equipment, mine detection equipment, water containers and purification stations, certain small arms and generators.