Sen. Dick Durbin, whose family has roots in Eastern Europe, said he is fine if Russian President Vladimir Putin targets him for sanctions in retaliation for sanctions the United States imposed against Russia.
"I'm just fine with that. My mother was born in Lithuania. And, of course, the Baltic nations were held captive for decades by the Soviets. So, when you talk about small nations at the mercy of Moscow, my family knows all about it," the Illinois Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday.
After Crimea's referendum Sunday to join Russia, President Barack Obama announced Monday the United States would impose sanctions that included restrictions on specific Russian officials.
Putin responded by threatening sanctions against U.S. senators, congressmen, and White House officials. Durbin tops Putin's list due to his criticism of Russia's invasion into Crimea, according to The Daily Beast
Durbin said the United States would not respond to the threat of further Russian aggression into Ukraine with "American boots on the ground." He did say the United States had to take definitive action to keep Russia at bay.
"If we don't take a stand, a good, hard, tough stand against him now with our European allies, he's going to continue," Durbin said.
The actions the United States could take to let Putin know "there's a price to be paid" could include economic and political sanctions, Durbin said.
Without pushback against Russia, Durbin warned, more countries were "going to be vulnerable."
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