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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China-India Border Standoff Continues as Leaders Hold Summit

New Delhi accuses hundreds of Chinese soldiers of illegally entering Indian territory in disputed region of Ladakh More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid