WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in reaction to an announcement by the leaders of the United States, European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, UK, and Canada of a new round of sanctions to hold Putin to account for his illegitimate war against Ukraine:
“Vladimir Putin clearly underestimated the courage and resolve of the Ukrainian people who are mounting a brave and impressive defense, and he has also miscalculated the strength of transatlantic unity.
“First, I strongly support the administration’s announcement to provide another $350 million in security assistance for Ukraine. Since the beginning of the Biden administration, the United States has approved more than $1 billion in security assistance for Ukraine. We must move quickly to rapidly deploy additional lethal weapons, ammunition, and body armor for Ukraine to defend itself against Putin’s illegal and unjustified invasion.
“I also welcome the additional actions announced today by the United States, the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada to continue to hold Putin to account for inflicting needless suffering on the Ukrainian people and impose drastic costs on the Russian economy.
“Sanctioning the Russian Central Bank and the removal of certain Russian financial institutions from the SWIFT messaging system will deal a historic blow to Putin and the elites who have reaped the benefits of his repressive regime. I look forward to reviewing the details of those measures.
“It has been clear to many of us for years, but now the world clearly believes that Russia is officially a pariah state. As the free world considers additional sanctions, particularly on the institutions and oligarchs who continue to enable Putin, we must spare no effort to make the invasion of Ukraine costly for Putin, Russian elites, and the Russian economy. The West has a responsibility to urgently ratchet up pressure on the Kremlin dictatorship as it seeks to destroy a democracy in the heart of Europe. I am encouraged by this international solidarity and urge continued momentum against Putin’s actions.”