Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, who earlier this month visited Ukraine
and neighboring countries, called the new sanctions "just a slap on
the wrist," and said it was time for measures that would affect the
"Until you hit three or four of the large banks — the financial
institutions — until you hit one of the energy producers at least, Gazprom, or someone, I just don't think it's going to have the
effect on Putin to change his behavior," Corker told reporters at
the U.S. Capitol.
He said he likely would introduce legislation this week seeking to
strengthen NATO, impose tough sanctions on Russian energy and some
of its "significant" financial institutions and provide military aid
and other assistance to Ukraine and neighboring countries.
Another Republican working on sanctions legislation, Indiana Senator
Dan Coats, a former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, said he was
confident both Republicans and President Barack Obama's fellow
Democrats would back tougher sanctions if Obama were to back more
diplomatic, economic and financial sanctions.
The United States imposed new sanctions on allies of Russian
President Vladimir Putin on Monday, prompting Moscow to denounce
"Cold War" tactics amid more violence in eastern Ukraine. Banning
visas and freezing assets of the likes of Putin's friend Igor
Sechin, head of oil giant Rosneft, the new sanctions came as
European allies wrangled over how to follow suit without badly
hurting their own economies.
Obama's fellow Democrats were more positive, but said they thought
more sanctions would be needed. They also stressed the importance of
imposing sanctions in connection with Europe.
[to top of second column]
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, chairman of the Senate's Europe
subcommittee, said the sanctions announced Monday "send a strong
signal to Moscow." However, the Connecticut Democrat added that
Washington's European allies must also impose sanctions and that
tougher measures might be needed without "real action" from Russia.
Democratic U.S. Representative Adam Schiff also said the U.S.
sanctions announced on Monday must be matched quickly by Europe, and
that he thought wider measures would be required over time.
"Regrettably, it will likely be necessary to go further and sanction
whole sectors of the Russian economy — their banking, mining, energy
and arms industries among others," Schiff, a California
representative, said in a statement.
Many members of Congress have been clamoring for the Obama
administration to impose broad sectoral sanctions on Moscow. Several
have urged more aid for Ukraine's military, including light weapons.
(Editing by Doina Chiacu and G. Crosse)
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