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 KerryGOP senator calls for China to crack down on illegal opioid Obamas to live in home of former Clinton press secretary: report Even in defeat, Trump could harm the country irreparably 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 BlumenthalSenate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Groups urge Senate to oppose defense language on for-profit colleges Lawmakers push to elevate Cyber Command in Senate defense bill MORE (D-Conn.), John CornynJohn CornynSenators hope for deal soon on mental health bill GOP leader pushes for special counsel to investigate Clinton emails Senate panel delays email privacy vote amid concerns MORE (R-Tex.), Roger WickerRoger WickerSenate votes to block USDA catfish inspections GOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' Senate Republicans ask Trump to soften his tone MORE (R-Miss.), Ben CardinBen CardinSenate GOP ties Iran sanctions fight to defense bill Lawmakers push to elevate Cyber Command in Senate defense bill Baltimore police officer cleared in Freddie Gray case MORE (D-Md.), Chris MurphyChris MurphySenators hope for deal soon on mental health bill Overnight Healthcare: IRS doubted legality of ObamaCare payments, ex-official says Week ahead: Pressure builds on Zika funding MORE (D-Conn.), David VitterDavid VitterPaul blocks chemical safety bill in Senate House Republican pushes bill to 'curb regulatory overreach' Honor Frank Lautenberg by protecting our kids MORE (R-La.) and Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteOvernight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return Senate GOP ties Iran sanctions fight to defense bill VA secretary comes under fire for comparing wait times to Disneyland MORE, as well as Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Michael BurgessMichael BurgessSenior Trump aide assures conservatives on court picks Overnight Tech: Dem blasts daily fantasy sports firms at first hearing Dem rips daily fantasy sports operators during hearing 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.