Russian officials are not following through with the terms of a tentative agreement to deescalate tensions in Ukraine, and the U.S. needs to prepare for the worst, a lawmaker said after visiting the region.
"I don't think Russia is following through," said Rep. Adam SchiffAdam SchiffOvernight Cybersecurity: Fed agency IT report cards | Senate Dems push for briefing on Russia hacks Overnight Tech: Big win for Samsung over Apple | Trump to sit down with tech leaders | Trump claims credit for B investment deal Trump cuts ties with Flynn Jr. MORE (D-Calif.) on CNN on Saturday.
The agreement reached last week called for the U.S., European Union, Ukraine and Russia to refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions, and for "illegal armed groups" to be disarmed. It also called for illegally seized buildings and occupied public spaces to be returned to their owners.
However, there were more clashes between Ukraine forces and the armed protestors over the weekend, breaking an Easter holiday truce.
Schiff, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, called last week's agreement "a pause to take a breath" and "a positive, but probably a small positive."
"I think we still need to prepare for the worst, which means that we need to try to line up our European allies for very strong sector-wide sanctions if Russia moves," he said.
Schiff also called for the U.S. to base more U.S. assets in the reion, in addition to holding military exercises, to reassure NATO allies.
"The military exercises are a very good idea," he said. "They're not so large that they're going to cause the Russians to escalate, but I think we will need to do more along those lines."
The Pentagon said the U.S. was considering a range of options to further bolster its military presence in Poland, and that the options included "some level of ground force training and exercises."
The decision will be announced within "the coming days," said Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren.