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Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Sunday a bipartisan economic sanctions package against Russia could soon pass through the Senate, as the U.S. ramps up its response to the threat of Russia invading Ukraine.

Key Facts

Bipartisan talks about the economic sanctions bill that would include immediate penalties against Russia before “devastating sanctions” should Russia invade Ukraine are at the “1-yard line,” Menendez said Sunday morning on CNN’s State of the Union show, appearing alongside Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), a ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Menendez called the bill “the mother of all sanctions,” including “massive” sanctions against Russia’s largest banks and further military aid to Ukraine.

There is “incredible bipartisan resolve” in the Senate for the package, according to Menendez, and both he and Risch have drafted legislation independently.

A sanctions bill could pass as early as this week: Sen. Chris Coons (D-De.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted Sunday morning, “I’m hoping we can move a bipartisan sanctions bill this week through the Senate!”

Key Background

With about 127,000 Russian troops at the Ukraine borderthe U.S. and Russia are engaged in intense diplomatic discussions. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that Russia has a “serious diplomatic path” forward should it choose, but talks have largely stalled after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized the U.S. for not budging on Russia’s chief demand of blocking Ukraine’s entry to NATO. Russia’s NATO demand is largely because Ukraine would then be entitled to military protection if granted membership, but the U.S. and NATO stand by Ukraine’s right to enter the alliance. Thousands more troops may soon be stationed in NATO countries near Ukraine. The Senate voted against a different sanctions package targeted at Russia earlier this month over the country’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and Menendez urged at the time to vote against the bill in order to wait for the more-targeted package related to Russian aggression in Ukraine.


Several far right, such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Michael Flynn, a national security advisor during the Trump Administration, have criticized American support for Ukraine. Risch responded to Carlson’s comments Sunday, saying the U.S. “sides always with countries that are democracies” before saying critics like Carlson will sing a “very different tune” after gas prices surge should Russia, the second-largest oil producer in the world, invade Ukraine.

Further Reading

Russia Criticizes ‘No Positive Reaction’ From U.S. As Staredown Intensifies (Forbes)

U.S. Won’t Budge On Ukraine’s Sovereignty But ‘Serious Diplomatic Path’ Remains With Russia, Blinken Says (Forbes)

U.S. Preps Over 8,000 Troops For Possible Deployment To Aid Ukraine, Pentagon Says (Forbes)

Putin Wouldn’t Be Hurt By Personal Sanctions Suggested By Biden, Russia Says (Forbes)

Biden Says ‘No Intention’ To Deploy U.S. Troops In Ukraine– Here’s What The U.S. Is Prepared To Do Instead (Forbes)

Source: Forbes

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