Ayotte: ‘We must act now’ on more Russian sanctions

Greg Nash

Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteThe Trail 2016: Just a little kick Abortion rights group ads tie vulnerable GOP senators to Trump Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables MORE (R-N.H.) said she is drafting legislation that would place U.S. sanctions on Russia’s banks and energy sector.

“The administration should not delay any longer in imposing immediate and severe sanctions on Russia's banking and financial sector,” Ayotte said Tuesday. “We must act now — before it's too late.”

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Shortly after Russia annexed Crimea, Congress passed legislation that sanctions Russian leaders involved in the invasion of part of Ukraine. The bill also provided a $1 billion loan to Ukraine to help maintain independence from Russia in the rest of the country. 

But many lawmakers are concerned Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t satisfied with just part of Ukraine and that his aggression will continue unless more is done. Putin now has troops along the eastern border as well and Ukraine was forced to some military action this week to protect its sovereignty.

Ayotte could introduce her legislation when the Senate returns from a two-week recess at the end of the month.

“The legislation I'm crafting would impose immediate additional sanctions on the Russian economy, with even harsher sanctions — such as on Russia's energy sector — if Putin takes further aggressive actions against Ukraine,” Ayotte said. “My proposal would also authorize provisions to provide critical support to the Ukrainian military.”

Ayotte isn’t the only lawmaker calling for more action from the Obama administration.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioOvernight Finance: Lawmakers float criminal charges for Wells Fargo chief | Scrutiny on Trump's Cuba dealings | Ryan warns of recession if no tax reform The Trail 2016: Just a little kick Opposition to Obama's radical disarmament agenda has proven effective MORE (R-Fla.), a possible 2016 GOP presidential nominee, said Tuesday that Obama should “immediately” increase sanctions on Russia.

“Sector-based sanctions should begin to be imposed and President Putin’s own financial assets, and those of his associates, targeted,” Rubio said. “By delaying the most significant penalties, the United States and our allies have unfortunately sent the message to Russia that there will be little cost to pay for this type of behavior.”