Rep. Schiff: Sanctions against Russia 'too mild'

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Monday said U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia are “too mild” and argued for them to be stepped up.

“I think the problem has been the sanctions have been too mild, too target-specific, going after a few of the oligarchs that really haven't hurt the Russian government or the Russian people,” Schiff said on CNN.

Sanctions that target Russia’s energy, mining and banking industries would “cripple” Russia’s economy, he said.

“It would make Putin pay a real price and it will take a little of the luster off of his bellicose foreign policy,” added Schiff, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Sector-wide sanctions, Schiff clarified, would be “hurtful” to the U.S. and Europe, but said they would effectively deter further Russia aggression.   

“If the Russians got to feel the economic impacts they might decide this is not such a great course for Russia after all,” he said. “But I think the only thing Putin is going to respect is strength, and I don't think we've shown it significantly in the response we've had yet.”

Schiff’s comments came as Treasury Secretary Jack Lew signed the $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine on Monday.

Meanwhile, pro-Russian demonstrators reportedly took over a police building in an eastern Ukraine city. Ukraine’s government had warned protestors to leave buildings they’ve occupied by Monday.

On Sunday, the United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting at Russia’s request as violence escalated in Ukraine.

Vice President Biden is expected to visit Ukraine later this month.