US Secretary of State Antony Blinken dismissed proposals to slap economic penalties on Russia immediately on Sunday, saying that doing so would undermine the West’s capacity to deter possible Russian action against Ukraine.
Russia’s massing of soldiers along the border with Ukraine has fueled Western fears of an invasion. If Russia does launch an intervention, the West has warned severe economic repercussions. Moscow has stated that it has no intention of invading.
“When it comes to sanctions, their objective is to prevent Russian aggression. As a result, if they are activated today, the deterrent impact is lost “In an interview with CNN, Blinken stated.
Blinken stated that if another Russian army entered Ukraine aggressively, it would elicit a severe response.
The UK has threatened Russia with sanctions after accusing the Kremlin of attempting to establish a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the Washington Post last week that he favored applying sanctions immediately, which Republican legislators agreed with on Sunday.
“We need to act now. When it comes to pushing back against Russia, we need to show strength and not be in a position of … appeasement,” Republican Senator Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told ABC News.
Democratic Senator Chris Coons, an ally of U.S. President Joe Biden, argued for passing bipartisan U.S. legislation to “show resolve and determination and apply some sanctions now” but said it was best to keep the strongest sanctions in reserve.
“The very strongest sanctions, the sorts of sanctions that we use to bring Iran to the table, is something that we should hold out as a deterrent,” he told ABC News.
Asked if U.S. hands were tied over Ukraine because of a need for Russian support in talks on reining in Iran’s nuclear program, Blinken, told CBS News: “Not in the least.”