Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New sanctions would ‘crush’ Russia



New sanctions would ‘crush’ Russia

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Senator Bob Menendez speaks during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations to examine US-Russia policy at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on December 7. AFP

New sanctions would ‘crush’ Russia

Top US Senate leaders said on January 30 they are close to reaching bipartisan agreement on a sanctions bill that would “crush” Russia’s economy if it sends troops into Ukraine.

Senator Bob Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said it was crucial that the US send a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that any such aggression is unacceptable.

“We cannot have a Munich moment again,” he said on CNN. “Putin will not stop with Ukraine.”

The legislation, he said, was near-complete: on the “one-yard line.”

Those stark comments came as Britain was completing its own sanctions package, one that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on January 30 would leave Russia with “nowhere to hide.”

Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis have continued, but fears are mounting amid an ongoing buildup that has placed more than 100,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders.

Menendez appeared together with the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations committee, Senator James Risch, in an apparent show of bipartisan determination.

Risch said a bipartisan coalition of senators had been making a “24-hour-a-day” effort to complete a sanctions bill that could persuade Putin that an invasion would carry extraordinarily high costs.

“It’s going to be extremely painful,” Risch said.

“This is not the same as Crimea,” when Russian troops invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, he added. “There is substantially, substantially more worldwide opposition.”

He warned that no one should take the sanctions threat lightly, saying that because of Russia’s heavy involvement in the energy sector, an invasion of Ukraine would ultimately “have a devastating effect on the economy around the world when it comes to the price of gasoline.”

Despite the show of comity between Menendez and Risch, there has been debate on the timing of a sanctions package, with some Republicans saying it should take force now, while some Democrats want to hold the threat in abeyance.

“There are some sanctions that really could take place up front because of what Russia has already done: cyber attacks on Ukraine, false flag operations, the efforts to undermine the Ukrainian government internally,” Menendez said.

But, he added, “the devastating sanctions that ultimately would crush Russia would come later on when he invades.”

As talks aimed at defusing the crisis continued in several capitals, the US ambassador to the UN emphasised on January 30 that a diplomatic solution is still possible.

In talks with all parties, said Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, “we have made clear that we’re prepared to address our concerns, Ukrainian concerns and Russian concerns at the diplomatic table. But it cannot be done on the battlefield.”

She was echoing a message sent two days earlier by US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“Conflict is not inevitable,” he said. “There is still time and space for diplomacy. Mr Putin can do the right thing.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Pailin longan winery tries to break through to the big time

    Longan aren’t quite as glamorous as some fruits. They don’t have the star-power of mangos or generate the excitement of a pricey seasonal niche fruit like the pungent durian. Unlike bananas or oranges, which are known and loved everywhere, longan remains a decidedly

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’

  • Siem Reap action plan for tourism in motion

    The action plan for the Siem Reap Tourism Development Master Plan (2022-2023), focusing on six priority destinations, has been implemented to boost tourism and regain pre-Covid tourist numbers in the province. The action plan sets out 17 strategies and 37 implementation activities for: Angkor Archaeological Park, Phnom