By Kristina Wong - 03/03/14 05:32 PM EST
U.S. and western officials are calling for the deployment of international observers to Ukraine, to prevent further Russian incursions into Ukrainian territory.
“If the Ukrainian government requests, the international community should send civilian observers to monitor the situation on the ground,” Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) urged in a statement Monday.
NATO made a similar recommendation on Sunday. NATO members are scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss Ukraine, following a request by Poland.
“We can further support the Ukrainian government with loan guarantees and other economic assistance,” said Casey, who is a member of the National Security Working Group and co-chair of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism Caucus.
“I will work with my Senate colleagues to explore targeted asset freezes against key Russian officials or broader economic sanctions on the Russian economy,” he said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also issued a strongly worded statement, saying Russia’s takeover of Crimea violated international law and needed to be “addressed immediately.”
She said she believed that threats would not persuade Russia, and urged a solution that would meet both Russia and Ukraine’s interests.
“The challenge now is to prevent escalation into southern and eastern Ukraine and begin a conversation with the Russian and Ukrainian governments in order to work out a solution that preserves Ukraine’s sovereignty and recognizes Russia’s interests,” she said.
“Secretary Kerry is on his way to the region, and my hope is that he will be able to prevent further escalation of this crisis and bring about a solution.”