WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Tensions are still high between Russia and Ukraine, as Russia is in a position to invade. To avoid an invasion of Ukraine, U.S. lawmakers are battling over the right time to apply sanctions on Russia.
“Putin yearns to re-assemble the old Soviet Union,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said.
On Thursday, Cruz proposed legislation to sanction a Russian gas pipeline now, a move Democrats blocked.
“Partisan loyalty is more important than standing up to Russia,” Cruz said.
But Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also rejected the timing in Cruz’s bill.
“Simply turning the gas pipeline off now and sanctioning it, is like being a hostage-taker and saying ‘We don’t want you to do this and we have your hostage’ and then going ahead and shooting the hostage before you get what you want,” Paul said.
Instead, Democrats are proposing a plan to apply new punishing sanctions only after Russia makes the first move.
“Should Putin invade, the consequences would be devastating,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said.
A bill from Menendez would establish automatic sanctions if Russia invades.
“And it makes clear that Putin has a choice to make,” Menendez said.
The legislation would also speed up security assistance to Ukraine. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) promises it’s the best option.
“That sends the right signal, that’s an effective message of consequence,” Murphy said.
But Cruz fears waiting will lead to quick and aggressive actions by Russia.
“The Menendez bill is not credible, it won’t stop the invasion,” Cruz said.
For now, the administration says it is aware of Russia’s actions and will keep a close eye.