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 KerryEgypt’s death squads and America's deafening silence With help from US, transformative change in Iran is within reach Ellison comments on Obama criticized as 'a stupid thing to say' 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 BlumenthalDemocrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Overnight Finance: Dems explore lawsuit against Trump | Full-court press for Trump tax plan | Clock ticks down to spending deadline FCC head unveils plan to roll back net neutrality MORE (D-Conn.), John CornynJohn CornynSenate's No. 2 Republican: Border tax 'probably dead' McConnell: Senate will pass short-term funding bill to avoid shutdown The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Tex.), Roger WickerRoger WickerNet neutrality fight descends into trench warfare Ryan praises FCC chief's plans to roll back net neutrality FCC head unveils plan to roll back net neutrality MORE (R-Miss.), Ben CardinBen CardinDemocrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Overnight Finance: Dems explore lawsuit against Trump | Full-court press for Trump tax plan | Clock ticks down to spending deadline Sanders on skipping WH Korea briefing: 'I did not want to be part of a photo op' MORE (D-Md.), Chris MurphyChris MurphyDemocrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Senators get North Korea briefing in unusual WH visit Hoyer not insisting on ObamaCare subsidies in spending bill MORE (D-Conn.), David VitterDavid VitterFormer senator who crafted chemicals law to lobby for chemicals industry Former GOP rep joins K Street lobbying firm Capitol Counsel Lobbying World MORE (R-La.) and Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteBottom Line How Gorsuch's confirmation shapes the next Supreme Court battle THE MEMO: Trump set to notch needed win with Gorsuch MORE, as well as Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Michael BurgessMichael BurgessRyan transfers record M to House GOP's campaign arm in March ObamaCare gets new lease on life Top Republican: The healthcare bill is dead 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.