By Kristina Wong - 04/22/14 09:29 AM EDT
U.S. failure to assure Ukraine's territorial integrity would undermine nuclear nonproliferation efforts all over the world, said a Democratic lawmaker.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the U.S. is bound by the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which the U.S., the U.K. and Russia agreed to respect Ukraine's independence in exchange for giving its nuclear weapons arsenal to Russia.
"Failure to follow through on the assurances the United States, Britain and Russia gave Ukraine in that memorandum invites further Russian aggression, and undermines our nonproliferation efforts," Schiff said on Monday evening in an statement to The Hill.
Schiff said, if other nations do not see collective security agreements as sufficient to protect their sovereignty, they might instead choose to develop nuclear weapons.
"This could have disastrous consequences in many parts of the world," said Schiff, who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
"For this reason, we must do all we can to deter Russia from further destabilizing actions in Ukraine, and continue to impose a range of economic and diplomatic sanctions on Moscow until it reverses its illegal annexation of Crimea," he said.
Earlier in the day, Schiff also called for beefing up training exercises in the Baltic states and widening sanctions.
Schiff said sectorwide sanctions should be imposed if Russia moves further into Ukraine, even though it could hurt European economies that rely on Russia for energy.
"I think we'll have to do more very, very soon, because I don't think the Russian destabilization efforts are going to stop," he said Monday on MSNBC. "It's regrettable, but nonetheless I think we're going to have to show strength here."