Lawmakers urge NATO members to scrap contracts with Russia

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 KerryTrump fails to mention Clinton in inaugural address Hillary Clinton under microscope at inauguration Overnight Tech: Meet the key players for Trump on tech | Patent chief staying on | Kerry aide goes to Snapchat | Uber's M settlement 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 BlumenthalBuying that new-used car: Congress must put safety first Senate gears up for battle over Trump's CIA pick Justice requires higher standard than Sessions MORE (D-Conn.), John CornynJohn CornynThe new Washington elite schmoozes over lunch Top GOP senator warns of weekend work on Trump nominees GOP governors defend Medicaid expansion MORE (R-Tex.), Roger WickerRoger WickerSenate gears up for battle over Trump's CIA pick Five takeaways from Chao’s confirmation hearing Overnight Tech: Tech listens for clues at Sessions hearing | EU weighs expanding privacy rule | Senators blast Backpage execs MORE (R-Miss.), Ben CardinBen CardinDem senators to Trump pick: Probe if adviser violated Russia sanctions Live coverage: Senators grill Trump's Treasury pick Top Dem: Don’t bring Tillerson floor vote if he doesn’t pass committee MORE (D-Md.), Chris MurphyChris MurphyGOP, Dems hear different things from Trump Live coverage of Trump's inauguration Dem senator: DeVos ‘sends shivers down the spine’ MORE (D-Conn.), David VitterDavid VitterLobbying World Bottom Line Republicans add three to Banking Committee MORE (R-La.) and Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteTen rumored Trump Cabinet picks who didn't get a job Sasse, Perdue join Armed Services Committee Avid pilot among GOP senators joining Transportation committee MORE, as well as Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Michael BurgessMichael BurgessTrump opens can of worms with blast at drugmakers Overnight Tech: Trump meets Alibaba founder | Uber to make some data public | GOP Lawmakers tapped for key tech panels Pentagon's suppressed waste report only tip of the inefficient machine 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.