Eric Cantor: US Should Ramp Up Pressure on Russia

Image: Eric Cantor: US Should Ramp Up Pressure on Russia

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 05:06 PM

By Cathy Burke

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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 in Ukraine.

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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