WASHINGTON – On CBS Face the Nation today, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Obama administration’s sanctions on individuals in Russia have not gone far enough to change President Vladimir Putin’s behavior, calling instead for new sanctions to target significant Russian entities in the banking and energy sectors that would send “shock waves” into the Russian economy.
“I’m very concerned that, as we've seen from this administration on so many tough issues, their policies are always late, after the point in time when we could have made a difference in the outcome,” said Corker. “I think these targeted sanctions against individuals just are not affecting Putin's behavior enough. I think you've read recently where the Russian economy is certainly very fragile. There's concerns internally about them going into a recession. To me, hitting four of the largest banks there would send shock waves into the economy.”
Corker also noted bipartisan concerns about the administration’s overly cautious response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.
“I think there's concern on both sides of the aisle that the administration in exercising such cautiousness, as they did in Syria, where we've ended up in a situation that is one of the biggest humanitarian crises we've seen in a long, long time, by being so cautious, by being unwilling to confront someone who only responds to action, not words. I think you've seen recently where they're having some kind of hashtag tweet war [with Russia’s foreign ministry].Those are not the kind of things that Putin responds to. I think we need to hit him much more toughly prior to him taking steps that are going to be very difficult to undo,” added Corker.
Senator Corker returned Thursday from a four-day visit to Moldova and Ukraine to assess firsthand the situation on the ground since Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and continued destabilizing involvement in eastern Ukraine and throughout the region.