“The fact is that we do have to show resolve [in Ukraine]. The sanctions that we passed out of the foreign relations committee are very biting, one of a kind; we've never done this before where economic extortion and corruption are a part of those [sanctions]. This will be a major miscalculation on behalf of Putin if he were to move into eastern Ukraine,” said Corker.
Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We hope President Putin will recognize that none of what we're saying is meant as a threat, it's not meant, as you know, in a personal way.”
When asked whether the U.S. is sending a message of resolve or weakness to Russia, Corker said, “There's no question that I think our administration has created an air of permissiveness, and it's those kind of comments [from Secretary Kerry] that caused Putin to question what our resolve is… Without that [long-term commitment] Putin will continue to do this. He did it in Georgia a few years ago. He's moved into Crimea, and he will move into other places unless we show that long-term resolve... We need to protect Ukraine... It's a defining moment for us, and for Europe, and we need to be strong.”
On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed by a vote of 14-3 bipartisan legislation in response to the crisis in Ukraine. The bill will support Ukraine’s political and economic transition without adding to the debt and impose sanctions on those who threaten Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The legislation also implements reforms regarding U.S. participation in the International Monetary Fund that will help facilitate financial support for Ukraine without increasing U.S. financial commitments at the IMF.
Additional information on The Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014 is available here.