For all those wondering why Russia's Vladimir Putin has been emboldened to advance on Ukraine under President Joe Biden – after years of restraint during the Trump administration – look no further than the failure to block the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, according to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
"For months, Ukraine's political leaders and its civil society pleaded with the United States to help them counter Russia by immediately sanctioning Nord Stream 2 and providing them with the weapons they need to defend themselves," Cruz wrote in a detailed statement Monday.
"We committed as a nation in the Budapest Memorandum to helping ensure their sovereignty and territorial integrity, and it is gravely in our national security interests to do so. The crisis that now threatens to engulf them will also create unknowable and acute dangers for our European NATO allies, whom we are bound by treaty to help defend."
Biden's threat of sanctions on Nord Stream 2 after a Russian invasion, instead of preemptive blocking it as former President Donald Trump had, has proven to be a colossal failure, Cruz added.
"President Biden has refused to meet these commitments, and Biden-Harris officials are to an enormous extent directly responsible for this crisis," Cruz's statement continued. "He and his administration instead settled for an endlessly deferred and wholly uncredible strategy of responding to Putin's aggression after an invasion. They have pursued bizarre tactics like declassifying American intelligence and trying to shame Putin. That approach has failed."
The next move should not be involving U.S. military action, but "devastating sanctions" that include an "immediate" and "permanent" end to Russia's pipeline, according to Cruz.
"No one is calling for the United States to intervene militarily on Ukraine's behalf, and it would be a catastrophic mistake to do so," his statement concluded. "Instead, the United States must impose devastating sanctions against Putin's interests, including immediate and mandatory sanctions permanently putting an end to his Nord Stream 2 pipeline."
Cruz lamented Putin's effort to "rebuild the Soviet Union," which is effectively underway through the recognition of independence for the areas of the contested Donbass region.
"Vladimir Putin's announcement today is just the latest step in his obsessive drive to rebuild the Soviet Union, at the expense of the national security of the United States and our allies," Cruz's statement began. "He seeks to make the lives of Americans worse, and he will use whatever new territory, resources, and power that he gains to do so — including control over energy he would seize in Ukraine.
"His announcements today, including the recognition of non-governmental controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine and that Russia would be deploying forces into Ukraine, must be met with an immediate response."
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