Senators Close to Approving Sanctions on Russia Over Ukraine

The leaders of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said Sunday that they were close to approving a package of sanctions against Russia over the ongoing Ukraine crisis. 

The senators called it “the mother of all sanctions.” They warned that there would be no appeasement. 

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic Chair, Bob Mendez (NJ) said that there cannot be another “Munich moment” again, a reference to an agreement in 1938 during which the allied countries ceded parts of Czechoslovakia to Hitler in an effort to stave off a full-on war. 

Menendez said that Putin will not stop if he believes that the West will not respond. He cited Russia’s aggression against Georgia in 2008, as well as Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in 2014 in pursuit of Crimea. 

The senator said that he believed bipartisan negotiations for severe sanctions were extremely close. There were some disagreements between democrat and republican senators over whether the measures should be imposed before or after Russia invades. 

Menendez said that there was incredible bipartisan resolve in support of Ukraine as well as for there to be severe consequences for Russia if it does invade. He said that the legislation written both by him as well as the committee’s ranking Republican, James Risch (Wisconsin), call for heavy sanctions, and include a variety of elements. He said that these sanctions were beyond anything that the U.S. has levied before. 

Risch agreed that the effort to agree upon sanctions was optimistic and that the committee was dedicated to the effort, saying the talks were a 24-hour-a-day-effort over the past several days. 

In the United Kingdom, the government has promised that it too will ramp up sanctions against Putin as well as his associates. 

Sanctions negotiations came before a UN Security Council meeting at the request of the United States over Ukraine. The session is meant to give Russia the opportunity to explain its actions. 

Tensions on the Russia-Ukraine border have continued to escalate. Russia has more than 100,000 troops at the border. The military build-up now also includes supplies of blood, meaning Russia is prepared for casualties. 

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