Senator Wicker says NDAA would make it clear that sanctions will be imposed and send a strong signal to Mr. Putin for potential aggressions.
In recent weeks, more than 90,000 Russian troops have amassed near the Ukrainian border. The troops are carrying advanced weapons and supplies which suggest a potential Russian interest in military aggression.
Moscow denies it is preparing an attack on Ukraine and accuses Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, of its own military build-up. In 2014, Russia invaded the Ukrainian territory of Crimea; around 14,000 Ukrainians were killed in the conflict.
Reuters reported on Thursday U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin suggested that any U.S. response to Russia’s actions towards Ukraine would be carried out in conjunction with the international community. Austin called on Moscow to be transparent about its military buildup.
In a floor speech on Wednesday, Mississippi U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R) condemned the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s growing military presence on the Ukrainian border. Wicker stated that there would be severe consequences if Russia continues its malign behavior.
“I stand today in support of the freedom loving people of Ukraine, our friends and our allies in Europe, and in warning to my fellow Americans and to my colleagues about a threat coming from Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime,” said Senator Wicker. “Now is the time—and I know many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle agree with this—now is the time for the President of the United States to send a strong signal to Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs – his ruling inner circle – that there will be serious consequences.”
Wicker said that it causes him concern that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle would like to pass an amendment on the National Defense Authorization that would make it clear that on day one, sanctions will be imposed. However, they are stuck on language that “might have intended consequences.”
The Mississippi Senator said that the purpose of his remarks is to urge the leaders of the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee on both sides of the aisle to get together and get the language right.
Wicker believes that the way it is positioned now, a Democratic amendment will be offered and will not pass because lawmakers will think there are holes in it. However, if a Republican amendment were to be offered on Ukraine Sanctions, it would not pass because the White House believes it is improper or inadequate.
“I don’t want a war with Ukraine, Madam President, and neither do my colleagues, and neither does the President of the United States,” Wicker said on the Senate floor. “The clearest way to prevent an invasion of our friends in Ukraine is for the United States to stand strong, to be resolute, to send a signal to the world that Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine will not be tolerated, and that intolerable consequences will be meted out upon the Putin regime.”