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GOP senator says US should impose sanctions on Russia

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) addresses reporters during a press conference on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 to discuss the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act as the Senate takes up the National Defense Authorization Act.
Greg Nash

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) on Sunday said the U.S. should impose sanctions on Russia “now,” as tensions grow amid reports of a potential invasion of Ukraine by Moscow.

Asked by co-anchor Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” if she is confident that the U.S. is doing what it needs to stop a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ernst said “I believe that we need to act now.”

The Iowa Republican knocked President Biden, suggesting that he has been “in a position of doctrine of appeasement” when it comes to dealing with Russia.

“When it comes to pushing back against Russia, we need to show strength and not be in a position of doctrine of appeasement, which seems to be how President Biden has worked his administration,” Ernst said.

“So we do need to go ahead and impose sanctions on Russia now. We need to show them that we mean business and we will be there for Ukraine, should they invade. Once an invasion happens lives are lost, you can’t go back from that. So those sanctions need to be put in place now,” she added.

The senator said one sanction option is expelling Russia from the SWIFT banking system, before emphasizing the importance of arming the Ukrainians with defensive and lethal aid.

“Certainly we need to make sure that any defensive aid is in the hands of the Ukrainians, as well as as much lethal aid as we can provide at this time,” Ernst said.

“And then we need to ensure the safety and security of Americans that are in the Donbass region. They need to be moved out or know how to evacuate safely should Russia invade. But again, I hope that we can prevent that through diplomacy,” she added.

Ernst’s comments come as concerns are rising regarding a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, though the country has said it is not planning such an offensive.

The Biden administration on Thursday imposed sanctions on four current and former Ukrainian officials who are believed to be working to help Russia’s influence operations in Ukraine.

Biden has warned that a “disaster for Russia” will follow if Moscow launches a military invasion of Ukraine.

Tags Dana Bash Joe Biden Joni Ernst

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