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 Forbes KerryLobbying world Kerry: Trump not pursuing 'smart' or 'clever' plan on North Korea Tillerson will not send high-ranking delegation to India with Ivanka Trump: 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 Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Air Force makes criminal reporting changes after Texas massacre We need a better pathway for allowing civilians to move guns across state lines MORE (R-Tex.), Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerSenator predicts Congress will wrap up tax work in two weeks The Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on Senate tax bill US warship collides with Japanese tug boat MORE (R-Miss.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' Dems put hold on McFarland nomination over contradictory testimony: report MORE (D-Md.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate passes tax overhaul, securing major GOP victory Dem senator compares GOP tax bill to unicorns, Tupac conspiracy theories MORE (D-Conn.), David VitterDavid VitterThe Senate 'ethics' committee is a black hole where allegations die Questions loom over Franken ethics probe You're fired! Why it's time to ditch the Fed's community banker seat MORE (R-La.) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteExplaining Democratic victories: It’s gun violence, stupid Trump voter fraud panel member fights back against critics Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada MORE, as well as Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessHarvey response puts squeeze on GOP Medicaid efficiency is needed now, more than ever In the politics of healthcare reform, past is prologue 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.