Menendez pushes for Ukraine sanctions

Menendez pushes for Ukraine sanctions
© Greg Nash

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations panel laid out his plan Thursday to slap targeted sanctions on Ukrainian government officials, after clashes with protesters left dozens dead.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) vowed to take “legislative action” when Congress returns from recess next week. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) have been working on sanctions legislation in recent days, as has the top Republican on the committee, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

“We will not stand idly by while the Ukrainian people are targeted and killed on their own streets,” Menendez said in a statement announcing the sanctions push. “I regret that it has come to this, but I have consulted with my colleagues on the committee and in the days ahead we will take legislative action.”

He said the legislation would support the Obama administration’s push to freeze the assets of Ukrainian officials determined to have allowed or carried out state-sanctioned violence against peaceful protesters, while denying the officials visas to the U.S. The bill would also increase support for “democracy, civil society actors, and independent journalists” while temporarily discontinuing assistance to “any organizations possibly involved in repression and violence until necessary reviews is completed.”

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