President Barack Obama should ramp up the pressure on Russia after its military escalation in Ukraine, and "reassess" U.S. strategy before it's too late to stop Moscow's "increasing threat to international peace and security," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor warned Tuesday.
"Russia has not been a constructive world partner under Vladimir Putin’s leadership," the Virginia Republican said in a statement carried by Roll Call.
Noting Russia's alliance with Syria’s Bashar Assad
and its past efforts to block sanctions on Iran,
Cantor said, "It should come as no surprise that Russia is violating Ukraine’s sovereignty after this track record.
"Clearly, more steps must be taken to put pressure on Russia, and it is past time we reassess our entire strategy toward a nation that poses an increasing threat to international peace and security," he said.
The tough talk comes in the wake of Putin's signature on a treaty
making Crimea part of Russia — and conservatives' criticism of what they have characterized as Obama's weak response
Yet as Russia's intervention in Crimea has escalated, the Obama administration's sanctions
Monday — freezing assets and banning travel for 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials — has only invited more criticism.
"The United States has a stake in supporting countries like Ukraine that are threatened by aggressive neighbors and must restore its role as a defender of liberty," Cantor urged.
He called for the United States to take "dramatically" expanding sanctions, and says that "G-7 leaders should decide to revoke Russia’s membership in the G-8."
He also is calling for military support for Ukraine, strengthening NATO alliances — and repeating past GOP demands — expanding exports
of natural gas.
Also on Tuesday, The Hill
reported that Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain — who on Monday blasted the Obama administration's lack of military aid
to Ukraine — is urging the administration to take further steps to halt Moscow's push into Crimea, including stronger sanctions, and aid to Ukraine paired with International Monetary Fund provisions.
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