U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, says the United States and its European allies need to make Russia’s interference in the Ukraine “hurt in the pocketbook.”
In recent days, Russian military forces seized a natural gas distribution plant in the former Soviet republic as unrest in the Ukrainian region of Crimea spills into other parts of the country. And in the wake of a Crimean vote to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, President Obama Monday announced sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian officials.
Sen. Dan Coats calls the election a farce, saying it’s hard to have fair elections with Russian tanks in the streets. And he says what happens in Ukraine can have serious effects, noting that seemingly small events in Europe often have far-reaching consequences:
“If you look at the history of the 20th century, it is a very unstable Europe, a very insecure Europe that led to major conflicts costing tens of millions of lives and involved the United States,” said Coats. “It affected the world economy.”
Coats says the U.S. and its allies need to continue exerting economic pressure on Russia to withdraw:
“There are ways in which we can impact their financial ability to deal with the world banking system, ways in which we can impact their exports of oil and gas, getting some of the European countries less dependent on Russia and more connected with other sources,” says Coats.
Coats says if the U.S. doesn’t take a stand now, he’s worried Russia could become more aggressive towards its other neighbors.