Despite urging from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Sec. of State Antony Blinken has pushed back against calls to impose sanctions on Russia as they continue to buildup a military presence along the Ukrainian border.
“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 to CNN’s Dana Bash Sunday. Blinken maintained that everything the U.S. is doing now, including working with Europe in a “united way” is designed to “deter and dissuade” Russia from taking aggressive action while the West pursues diplomacy. (RELATED: Daniel: Just A Reminder That Biden And Merkel Practically Invited A Russian Invasion Of Ukraine)
Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst appeared later in the broadcast refuting Blinken’s stance on sanctions, stating, “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.” (RELATED: Senate Democrats Block Bipartisan Nord Stream 2 Sanctions)
“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 amassed an estimated 100,000 troops along the eastern border of Ukraine following that country’s pursuit of membership in NATO, something Russian President Vladimir Putin has called “unacceptable.” Putin has also voiced concern over the placement of U.S. missile sites 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.