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Senators introduce legislation to deter Russia's aggression in Europe

Police block the entrance to a park where a pro-government rally was scheduled to take place April 30, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Police block the entrance to a park where a pro-government rally was scheduled to take place April 30, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine.
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

On Friday, U.S. Senator from Georgia, Johnny Isakson stated in his weekly update newsletter that he joined 20 other Republicans in the U.S. Senate to introduce the “Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014”, which provides strategic U.S. response to deter Russian aggression in Europe.

President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had warned on Friday that the West is prepared to move “in concert” in imposing sanctions on key sectors of the Russian economy if Russia’s actions in Ukraine continue in a way that disrupts the strife-torn country’s upcoming national elections.

The backside of the sanctions against Russia could harm economic growth in the United State but also the acts by the Russians are threatening regional security and prosperity.

Isakson said, “We as a country will not stand by and allow Russia to deliberately disregard international law or President Putin’s continued violation of Ukrainian sovereignty that threatens the peace and security of the region.”

The co-sponsors of the legislation include Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

Other co-sponsors include Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), John Thune (R-.S.D.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

Some of the key provisions of the legislation include increasing substantially U.S. and NATO support for the armed forces of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, as well as other countries determined appropriate by the president.

Places immediate new sanctions on any Russian officials and agents involved in the illegal occupation of Crimea, and imposing immediate new sanctions tied to the destabilization of eastern Ukraine on four key Russian banks: Sberbank, VTB Bank, VEB Bank, Gazprombank, as well as on the Gazprom, Novatek, Rosneft energy monopolies, and Rosoboronexport, the major Russian arms dealer.

However, White House officials responded with less enthusiasm of the legislation being pushed by Senate Republicans with President Obama own resistance in recent weeks to calls for directly arming the Ukrainian military, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that “those who make those calls don’t explain what ultimate purpose that would do.”

In a move of Russian propaganda, spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov Kiev’s government and its western allies bear full responsibility for the recent bloodshed in Ukraine.

Peskov said, “The EU and the US have both supported the Kiev government’s operation. President Barack Obama called it “a move to restore order”, while EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton said "the state's monopoly on the legitimate use of violence needs to be respected."

Nevertheless, Isakson and other Republicans are not backing down and believe the legislation will send a strong message and will pressure Russia’s President Vladimir Putin that he must back down.

Isakson said, “We must stand firm in our unwavering support for Ukraine and our NATO allies in the region, and we should continue to put the pressure on the Russians to let President Putin know that human liberty, freedom, peace and the right to democracy is what America defends.”

“There must be consequences for the rogue actions taken by the Russian Federation and those responsible for undermining the sovereignty, integrity, and the government of Ukraine.”

The “Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014” background and details can be accessed here.

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