Senior U.S. Republican lawmakers said on Monday the latest sanctions imposed on Russian individuals and companies are too mild to deter Moscow from further action in Ukraine, keeping up pressure on the Obama administration to take stronger action.
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the new sanctions "just a slap on the wrist."
"Until Putin feels the real pain of sanctions targeting entities like Gazprom, which the Kremlin uses to coerce Ukraine and other neighbors, as well as some significant financial institutions, I don't think diplomacy will change Russian behavior and de-escalate this crisis," Corker in a statement.
His fellow Republican, Indiana Senator Dan Coats, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany, said he was working with other senators on a series of tough diplomatic, economic and financial sanctions.
"I am hopeful that President (Barack) Obama will support our effort. If he is willing to lead by taking action that demonstrates American disapproval of Russia's actions, I am confident that a bipartisan majority in Congress will stand with him in support," Coats said in a statement.
Democratic U.S. Representative Adam Schiff said the U.S. sanctions announced on Monday must be matched quickly by Europe. However, he also said he thought wider measures would be required over time.
"Regrettably, it will likely be necessary to go further and sanction whole sectors of the Russian economy - their banking, mining, energy and arms industries among others," Schiff said in a statement.
Many members of Congress have been clamoring for the Obama administration to impose broad sectoral sanctions on Moscow. Several have urged more aid for Ukraine's military, including light weapons. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Doina Chiacu)
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