By Ramsey Cox
Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) introduced a bill Wednesday that would ensure the United States doesn’t recognize Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea and its resources.
“The American response must be much greater than a verbal slap if we want Putin to understand his actions in Ukraine are unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Coats said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “Congress must refuse to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea.”
Coats said the Crimea Annexation Non-Recognition Act would also prohibit foreign assistance to countries that recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea and express opposition to any international banks assisting programs for Crimea that go through Russia as an intermediary. The bill would also ensure the United States doesn’t recognize Russia’s rights to Crimea’s airspace and waters.
“A policy of non-recognition will communicate the seriousness of this situation and help reassure our allies precariously placed on Russia's borders,” Coats said. “The steps outlined in this bill will supplement prior congressional action and pave the way for additional sanctions to show our disapproval of this bully on the playground.”
The Senate had already passed a resolution authored by Coats and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that condemned Russia’s actions. Then Congress passed legislation to provide aid for Ukraine and sanction Russian leaders involved in the annexation of Crimea.
Lawmakers are pushing for more action because Putin has continued to hold Russian troops along the eastern border of Ukraine, making them fear he will take control of more of the country.