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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora