Senators: We must stand up to Putin

Top members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday that the U.S. needed to show strength and long-term resolve in pushing back against Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Poll finds little support for Menendez reelection Judge tells Menendez lawyer to 'shut up' MORE (D-N.J.), the head of the Foreign Relations Committee, said that, without a united global response, Russian President Vladimir Putin would push as far as he could to amass power.

“Putin only understands strength,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Putin has started a game of Russian roulette, and the United States and the West have to be very clear in their response, because he will calculate about how far he can go,” Menendez added.

Menendez said the U.S. is prepared to enact “very robust sanctions” against Russia if it agrees to annex Crimea, a Russian-speaking section of Ukraine that is expected to vote in a Sunday referendum to secede from Ukraine. U.S. officials, including President Obama, have already called the vote illegitimate, and the senators said Russia would face consequences if they annexed the region.

“If they move towards that goal, then I think ultimately the sanctions need to be enforced along with our European allies,” said Menendez.

Read more from The Hill.