U.S.-imposed sanctions against Russia are "helping" to cripple the county's economy, but they are not enough to compel Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw troops from Ukraine, Rep. Ed Royce said Monday.
Royce, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, told MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown" he just returned from a trip to Ukraine where he received firsthand accounts of the involvement of Russian troops there. He called the situation "very much in play," and said there were "Russian special forces across the east operating there."
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Royce said the current sanctions imposed against Russia were "helping, in the sense that the stock market is down 25 percent, and the Russian ruble is down."
To get Putin's attention, Royce said the United States should broaden sanctions to include specific areas of Russia's economy.
"I would suggest that if we threatened certain sectors of their economy, especially if we went after mining, if we went after financial services, energy, if the United States were to announce a major program to ship gas into Ukraine and break the Russian monopoly in Eastern Europe, these types of steps would, I think, have an impact," the California Republican said.
Royce said that reports he received from the Russian-speaking population during his trip indicated it was "Russian special forces" who were "leading the charge" into Ukraine.
"They were the ones that had taken over some of these city halls and put up the Russian flag. And, they would find fringe candidates there locally to do their bidding," he said.
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