Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said Sunday the United States has to “act now” — and “mean business — as Russia pushes toward a possible invasion of Ukraine.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Ernst warned President Joe Biden against a policy of “appeasement.”
“I believe we need to act now,” she said. “When it comes to pushing back against Russia, we need to show strength and not be in a position of doctrine of appeasement which seems to be how President Biden has worked his administration. So we do need to go ahead and impose sanctions on Russia now. We need to show them that we mean business and we will be there for Ukraine should they invade.
According to Ernst, the hope is that an invasion doesn’t happen but sanctions need to be leveled to ensure that.
“We have to be very strong to make sure that Russia is not able to go into a sovereign nation without pushback,” she said. “So let's get those sanctions in place. Let's make sure the Ukrainian military is prepared to respond.”
Ernst also criticized the Biden administration for holding back on sanctions because it removes a deterrent, arguing that as a result, Russia sees that coming from a “a very weak administration”
“We have many options for deterrence when it comes to Russia,” she said. “But we need to impose those [sanctions] now. President Putin only understands strength and power. Again, through a doctrine of appeasement he has seen in other areas, whether it's Iran with this administration, reengaging Iran even though they continue with bad behavior, whether it's working with China, whether it is the debacle we saw in Afghanistan this last year.”
“They see a very weak administration and President Putin sees every opportunity to do what he wants to do in Ukraine with very little pushback from the United States,” she asserted. “So we need to have firm resolve with this. We need to work with our NATO allies and make sure an invasion does not happen.”
Diplomacy is not the only route the United States has for dealing with the crisis, Ernst said.
“There are ways we can share intelligence, work with our NATO allies and other partners, we certainly can provide the resources necessary to bolster the Ukrainian military,” she said.
“It's very important that Americans understand that when we have a stable Europe, when we have democracy around the globe, it makes our country safer,” she pointed out. “Russia invading Ukraine matters to Americans, not only for the safety and security of our partners in Europe, but also for the safety and security of Americans right here at home.”
In a separate interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” Ernst added the United States needs “to be very aggressive in pushing back against President Putin, whether that's in the form of sanctions, expulsion from the Swiss banking system certainly, sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, all of these actions need to be put in place, as well as continuing to equip our Ukrainian friends with not only defensive capabilities but also offensive weapons.”
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