US Senator Compares Biden's Policy Towards Russia With West's Appeasement of Nazi Germany
18:53 GMT 23.01.2022 (Updated: 18:54 GMT 23.01.2022)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier warned against imposing immediate economic sanctions on Russia simply on the suspicion that it might invade Ukraine, insisting that in this case this tool will lose its deterrent effect. Moscow insists it harbours no plans to invade its neighbour.
Republican Senator Joni Ernst has called on the White House to start imposing sanctions against Russia immediately instead of waiting for its invasion in Ukraine, which Washington fears might happen despite Moscow's assurances of the opposite. In an interview with CNN, Ernst criticised Biden's approach to handling Russia arguing that the US "needs to act now".
Ernst went as far as to call Biden's policy a "doctrine of appeasement" – a term historically used to describe the western European countries' approach to handling Nazi Germany's territorial ambitions. The congresswoman suggested that the White House's current policy won't prevent Russia from invading the neighbouring state.
"When it comes to pushing back against Russia, we need to show strength and not be in a position of doctrine of appeasement, which seems to be how President Biden has worked his administration. We need to show them that we mean business and we will be there for Ukraine, should [Russia] invade," she said.
The GOP senator suggested that cutting Russia off the SWIFT banking system, reportedly discussed in the White House as a possible response to the invasion, was one option to deter Moscow from aggressive actions. She also suggested arming the Ukrainian army with not only defensive, but also lethal weapons – despite the risk of Kiev and radical groups using it against the self-proclaimed people's republics in the country's east and civilians living there.
The lawmaker also stressed that Washington must also ensure the safety and security of Americans "that are in the Donbass region", evacuating them if necessary. It is unclear if there are any US citizens are actually living in the Donbass region (which is sometimes shelled by the Ukrainian military).
White House Opposes the Idea of Pre-Emptive Sanctions
Joni Ernst's proposals contradict ideas regarding anti-Russian sanctions expressed earlier today by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. He argued that there was no point in slapping Russia with sanctions right now since the sanctions will lose their deterrent effect.
"All of the things that we're doing, including building up - in a united way with Europe - massive consequences for Russia, is designed to factor into President Putin's calculations and to deter and dissuade them from taking aggressive action, even as we pursue diplomacy," Blinken said.
The US has been discussing possible sanctions options with European allies in recent months in light of their claims that Russia has been gathering troops at the border with Ukraine. Western politicians expressed concerns that Moscow might be planning an invasion in Ukraine, but presented no evidence to back up their fears.
23 January 2022, 08:40 GMT
The Kremlin strongly rejected the allegations and promised that it has no plans to invade its neighbour. Furthermore, Moscow defended its right to move and redeploy its troops within its own borders as it sees fit since it is Moscow's sovereign right to do so.