Despite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calling for sanctions to be imposed on Russia as they continue to build a military presence along the Ukrainian border, Sec. of State Antony Blinken has resisted his request.
“When it comes to sanctions, the purpose of those sanctions is to deter Russian aggression. If they are triggered, now you lose the deterrent effect,” Blinken explained Sunday. Blinken reiterated that everything the U.S. is doing now, including working with Europe in a “united way” is intended to “deter and dissuade” Russia from taking aggressive action as the West continues to pursue diplomacy.
Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst disagreed with Blinken’s stance on sanctions, saying, “When it comes to pushing back against Russia, we need to show strength and not be in a position of doctrine of appeasement, which seems to be how President Biden has worked his administration.”
“So, we do need to go ahead and impose sanctions on Russia now.” Ernst continued. “We need to show them that we mean business and we will be there for Ukraine should they invade. Once an invasion happens, lives are lost. You can’t go back from that. So those sanctions need to be put in place now,” she concluded.
Russia has an estimated 100,000 troops stationed along the eastern border of Ukraine following the country’s pursuit of membership in NATO, something Russian President Vladimir Putin has called “unacceptable.” Putin has also voiced concern over U.S. missile sites being placed close to Russia’s borders.
“We are doing a lot right now,” Blinken maintained. “Besides the United States taking the lead in bringing countries throughout Europe and even beyond together, in putting together massive consequences for Russia if it takes renewed aggressive action, in Ukraine, as I mentioned, we’re providing and last year alone provided more military assistance to Ukraine than at any year in the past. We have been going against those inside Ukraine trying to destabilize the government. So we’re taking concrete action,” he concluded.