News / USA

US Lawmakers Urge Tougher EU Sanctions on Russia

FILE - Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 9, 2014.
FILE - Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 9, 2014.
Michael Bowman

U.S. lawmakers of both parties say Russia must pay a price for events in Ukraine, but that price can only be exacted with Europe’s full and vigorous cooperation.  Members of Congress are closely monitoring this week’s meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

The downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet over eastern Ukraine has elicited perhaps the fiercest rhetoric towards Russia heard on Capitol Hill since the Cold War.  On the Senate floor, Republican Dan Coats said Russian President Vladimir Putin is driven by “pathological insecurities” and “imperial ambitions” - and must be forced to halt intervention in Ukraine.

“I suggest we do whatever is necessary to bring Russia’s economy to its knees," he said. "We need to see that [Russian] stock market plummet.  We need to see confidence and support for anything Russia makes or exports denied.”

But for further sanctions to be effective, the United States and its European allies must present a unified front, according to Democratic Senator Chris Murphy.

“Brussels has the ability to send an unequivocal message to Russia this week that there are consequences for their continued provocation in eastern Ukraine, which has now led to the death of hundreds of Europeans," he said. "Putin will blink if he sees there are real consequences for his economy.  It is difficult for the United States to deliver consequences alone without Europe.”

Earlier in the day, the EU announced a tightening of targeted sanctions against Russia, with the possibility of further measures later in the week.

Washington and Brussels need to do more to target Russia’s economic lifeline: its energy sector, among others, according to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat Robert Menendez.

“That price should be exacted by the Europeans and the United States by having significant sectoral sanctions," he said. "I believed the West needed to be more vigorous before the Malaysian flight was shot down, and I certainly believe that so much more now.”

But many U.S. lawmakers question EU nations’ pain threshold when it comes to sanctions that could harm their own economies.  Republican Senator John McCain says, so long as Europe depends on Russia for energy, EU sanctions will be weak.

“The Europeans are not going to do anything.  If anybody believes that [European sanctions will be firm], I have some beachfront property for them in Arizona,” he said.

Arizona, McCain’s home state, is landlocked.

As for possible U.S. actions, Senator Murphy said President Barack Obama has ample authority to ratchet up sanctions further against Russia.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs