US Senate panel close to ‘mother of all sanctions’ approval against Russia | Ukraine

Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders said Sunday they were on the brink of approving “the mother of all sanctions” against Vladimir Putin, and warned there would be no reconciliation now that the Russian president is invading Ukraine. considering.

“We can’t have another moment in Munich,” Democratic panel chairman Bob Menendez of New Jersey told CNN’s State of the Union, referring to the 1938 agreement whereby allies ceded parts of Czechoslovakia to Hitler, in the belief that it would prevent war.

“Putin will not stop if he thinks the West will not respond,” Menendez said. “We saw what he did in Georgia in 2008, we saw what he did in 2014 chasing Crimea. He won’t stop.”

Menendez said he believed two-party negotiations on tough sanctions were “on par” despite disagreements with Republicans over whether measures should be imposed before or after a Russian invasion. The British government promised to step up sanctions against Putin and his associates.

The negotiations are ahead of an expected meeting of the UN Security Council Monday, at the request of the US, to give Russia an opportunity to explain its actions.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the UN, said: “We are going to the council that is willing to listen to Russia’s security concerns, but we will not be distracted by their propaganda.”

On Sunday, Kiev urged Moscow to withdraw its troops from the border with Ukraine and continue dialogue with the west if it was “serious” over de-escalating tensions that have risen over fears of a Russian invasion. Canada on Sunday moved its Ukraine-based military units west, announcing the temporary withdrawal of all non-essential workers from its Kiev embassy, ​​citing ongoing Russian threats along the border.

“We will continue to take all precautions necessary to keep our Canadian Forces safe,” Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said at a news conference in Kiev. Canada has 900 military members who support NATO’s mission in Ukraine through “land, air and sea,” she said.

Meanwhile, NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said Europe needed to diversify its energy supply.

Tensions on the border with Ukraine have continued to escalate, with Reuters reporting that the Russian military buildup included blood supply in anticipation of casualties.

John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, told Fox News on Sunday: “Putin has a lot of options at his disposal if he wants to invade Ukraine further, and he can execute some of those options at short notice. It could really, honestly, happen any moment.”

To show his determination, Menendez gave CNN a joint interview with James Risch, the Republican on his committee, from Wisconsin.

Menendez said: “There is an incredible bipartisan determination to support Ukraine, and an incredibly strong bipartisan determination to have dire consequences for Russia if it invades, and in some cases for what it has already done.

“We are building on legislation that both Senator Risch wrote independently, and I wrote what I called the mother of all sanctions. It must contain a variety of elements, massive sanctions against the main Russian banks, crippling their economy, the Russian national debt. These are sanctions that go beyond any sanctions we have ever imposed.”

Risch said talks had been “24 hours a day” in recent days in an effort to agree on the timing and content of the sanctions, and that he was optimistic.

“That’s a work in progress,” Risch said, as he was pressured by discussions about preventive sanctions or measures to be taken in the event of an invasion. “[But] I am more than cautiously optimistic that if we go back to DC tomorrow, we will move forward. ”

Menendez said he believed Western allies should not wait to punish Putin.

“There are some sanctions that could be put in place because of what Russia has already done, cyber attacks on Ukraine, false flag operations, efforts to undermine the Ukrainian government internally,” he said.

“But then the devastating sanctions that will eventually destroy the Russian economy, and the continued deadly aid we are about to send, will leave Putin having to decide how many body bags of Russian sons will return to Russia.

“The sanctions we are talking about would come later when he invades, some sanctions would come to the fore for what has already been done, but the deadly aid will travel anyway.”

Risch criticized the attitude of several far-right figures, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson and the Kentucky congressman Thomas Massie, who questioned why the US supports Ukraine and opposes Russia. Carlson said it “makes sense” that Putin “just wants to keep his western border safe” by opposing moves by Ukraine to join NATO.

“We always choose countries that are democracies, and in that regard there will certainly not be a ceasefire,” Risch said.

Bob Menendez speaks at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, flanked by James Risch, in August 2021. Photo: REX/Shutterstock

“But the people who said we shouldn’t be doing this at all will be singing a very different tune when they go to refuel their car, if there is indeed an invasion. There will be sanctions that will cripple Russia, it will cripple their oil production. And as we all know, Russia is just a gas station barely disguised as a country. It will have a devastating effect on the economy around the world.”

On NBC’s Meet the Press, Dick Durbin, co-chair of the Senate Committee on Ukraine, expressed concerns expressed Friday by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that the mounting rhetoric about the crisis was creating panic and destabilizing his country’s economy.

His comments followed a phone call with Joe Biden that Ukrainian officials said were “not going well.”

“Any decision about Ukraine’s future will be made by Ukraine,” said Durbin, an Illinois Democrat. “It will not be made in Moscow or in Washington, in the European Union or in Belarus. It’s their future and their destiny and their decision on that matter.”

The co-chair of the caucus, Ohio Republican Rob Portman, who also sits on the foreign relations committee, told NBC he believed Putin had underestimated the unity of NATO and others.

“One thing Vladimir Putin has done successfully is he has strengthened the transatlantic alliance and the countries around the world that are watching this and saying, ‘We can’t let this stand, we can’t let this happen’ Portman said.

“For the first time in nearly 80 years we could have a major and very bloody conflict in Europe unless we stand up and push back together, and so far so good.”

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