US senators push harsher sanctions against Russia

US senators push harsher sanctions against Russia
Thu May 1, 2014 09:52:28

Republican members of the United States Senate took further steps on Wednesday towards increasing sanctions against Russia amidst an escalating international crisis surrounding neighboring Ukraine.

Just two days after US President Barack Obama introduced the White House’s latest attempt to reprimand Moscow for its role in the Ukrainian ordeal, 19 senators introduced legislation on Wednesday described by Reuters as being broader and tougher than anything put in place yet by the administration.

According to Reuters, the sanctions would apply to major Russian banks and energy companies, and come with major military aid for Kiev. Wall Street Journal reporter Kristine Peterson added Wednesday morning that the military aspect of the proposal, if approved, would require the White House to substantially increase US and NATO support for the armed forces of allied Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, as well as accelerate implementation of missile defense in Europe.

On Monday this week, the White House imposed additional sanctions on Russia. Those sanctions targeted seven Russian government officials and 17 companies closely tied with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin fired back at first, and said Russia would not be hurt by the sanctions. Now just days later, conservative members of Congress are saying it’s time to increase sanctions.

“What we’ve seen from the administration is a lot of rhetoric,” Sen. Bob Corker(R-Tennessee) said Wednesday morning, according to the Journal.

"Until Putin feels the real pain of sanctions targeting entities like Gazprom, which the Kremlin uses to coerce Ukraine and other neighbors, as well as some significant financial institutions, I don't think diplomacy will change Russian behavior and de-escalate this crisis," he said in a statement.

Sen. Dan Coats (R-Indiana) added in his own remarks that “The lack of a forceful, effective response by the administration and Western leaders has given Putin little reason to expect that further aggression will be punished."

Washington has allegedly blamed Moscow for encouraging a recent uprising in eastern Ukraine and the nearby peninsula of Crimea that has displaced several local governments and imposed pro-Russian officials in their place.


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