President Trump faces additional pressure not to reset relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a growing number of Senate Republicans are asking him not to lift sanctions on Putin’s government.

“We write to ask you to pursue a results-oriented, but tough-minded and principled policy toward the Russian Federation,” Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner and six other Republican senators wrote in a Thursday letter to the White House. “[W]hile we should seek common ground with Russia in the areas of mutual interest, we must never pursue cooperation with Russia at the expense of our fundamental interests of defending our allies and promoting our values.”

That letter asks Trump to maintain the sanctions imposed on Russia over the annexation of Crimea and attack on eastern Ukraine. “Furthermore, we ask you to expedite the provision of defensive lethal weapons to Ukraine, and we were encouraged that Secretary of State Tillerson supported this position during his confirmation hearing,” they wrote.

The senators also urged Trump to avoid cooperating with Putin in Syria “until Moscow halts its military operations that have caused immense damage and human suffering and ceases support for the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad.”

It was sent one day after a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that would deprive Trump of the unilateral authority to reverse sanctions on Russia. Of the seven signatories, only Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., cosponsored the bill to review any attempt to left Russia sanctions. That means nine Republicans in two days have taken steps to pressure Trump not to cut a deal that would overlook Russian aggression in Ukraine. An attempt to pass legislation restricting Trump’s options over his objections would need 19 Republicans and every Democrat to vote to override a presidential veto.

“President Putin must know that the United States remains a beacon of hope and democracy around the world, and will stand up for what is right,” the senators — Gardner and Graham, along with Maine’s Susan Collins, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Rob Portman of Ohio, South Dakota’s Mike Rounds, and Todd Young of Indiana — wrote to Trump.

The seven Republicans who wrote Trump appear eager to avoid a direct clash, preferring instead to influence his decision in advance. “Mr. President, we look forward to your reply and maintaining an open, ongoing, and respectful dialogue with you regarding U.S.-Russia relations,” they wrote.

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