News / USA

    US Lawmakers Ready to Act Over Ukraine, But Want Europe to Step Up

    FILE - The U.S. Capitol building
    FILE - The U.S. Capitol building
    Reuters
    U.S. lawmakers expressed support on Monday for aid for Ukraine's new government, as well as sanctions to punish Russia for its military incursion into the neighboring country, but want European nations to step up their involvement in the crisis.
     
    Senators are looking at options such as imposing sanctions on Russia's banks and freezing assets of Russian public institutions and private investors, Senator Chris Murphy, chairman of the Senate's Europe subcommittee, said.
     
    But he said in a telephone interview that European governments also needed to act.
     
    “Unilateral U.S. sanctions against Russia are not going to have much of an effect if Europe remains a haven for Russian banks and Russian oligarchs to stash and invest their money,” the Connecticut Democrat said.
     
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was “deeply concerned” about what is happening in Ukraine. Noting that President Barack Obama has said he wanted to provide economic aid to Kyiv, Reid said he was “happy to help in any way.”
     
    But the Nevada Democrat told reporters at the U.S. Capitol: “I'm going to recommend that anything that we do be in conjunction with our allies.”
     
    Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are preparing legislation - supported by members of both parties - to provide at least $1 billion in loan guarantees to provide structural support to Ukraine's economy.
     
    Targeted Sanctions

    The measure would also authorize technical assistance for energy reforms, support elections, strengthen civil society, combat corruption and help Ukraine recover stolen assets, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, the committee's chairman, said in a statement.
     
    The committee is also consulting with the Obama administration on possible actions against individual Russians - and Ukrainians who cooperated with them - ranging from visa bans and asset freezes to suspending military cooperation and sales, as well as economic sanctions.
     
    Republican U.S. Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, also said Washington needed to act with the Europeans to pressure Moscow via its state-run banks or through trade.
     
    “The Achilles heel for Russia is their economy, the ruble,” Royce said on CNN.
     
    European Union ministers held talks on the Ukraine crisis on Monday, but agreed on no deadlines or details about any punitive measures that could be put in place against Russia.
     
    Republican Senator John McCain, one of his party's leading foreign policy voices, said he felt German Chancellor Angela Merkel in particular had been too timid.
     
    Merkel and her three-month-old coalition government have gone out of their way to avoid antagonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin, remaining measured even as Washington and other capitals ratcheted up the rhetoric. Germany is heavily dependent on Russian natural gas and is closer to Moscow than any other leading Western nation.
     
    “I was very disappointed in her comments,” McCain said of Merkel. “And, by the way, maybe Putin also, who knows Angela Merkel, thinks that he can get away with this.”

    You May Like

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.