Rep. Waltz to Newsmax: Exert Painful Sanctions on Russia Before Invasion of Ukraine

Rep. Waltz to Newsmax: Exert Painful Sanctions on Russia Before Invasion of Ukraine (Newsmax/"American Agenda")

By Charles Kim | Monday, 31 January 2022 05:57 PM

Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., told Newsmax Monday that the United States should impose economic sanctions on Russia now, before it invades the Ukraine so Russian President Vladimir Putin can feel the “economic pain” before sending troops across the border.

“We absolutely should be (imposing sanctions) now,” Waltz said during “American Agenda” Monday. “We should be making Putin and his inner circle feel that economic pain now and then that also puts leverage on the table that we can pull back should Putin hopefully decide to de-escalate.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the administration was working with Congress to develop a package of preemptive economic sanctions on Russia should they use the mass of more than 100,000 troops at the border to invade Ukraine.

“We are working very closely with Congress on Ukraine, and Russia, and the tensions we are seeing being built up at the border,” Psaki said during Monday’s press briefing at the White House. “We are certainly encouraged that there are bipartisan discussions about to hold Russia accountable. How to have a deterrent impact. Our view is that sanctions can be an effective deterrence and the deepening sell offs in Russian markets reflects our message to Russia.”

Waltz said he visited Ukraine recently and the people there would rather see U.S. action before an invasion takes place.

“I was just out in Ukraine a month ago, and talking to the Ukrainians,” Waltz said. “They kept telling me for Biden to promise a lot of tough action after they are invaded doesn't do them a lot of good.”

During a public meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Monday, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia denied an invasion of Ukraine was “imminent” as U.S. officials have said, saying it is the U.S. ratcheting up tensions in the region.

"They themselves are whipping up tensions and rhetoric and are provoking escalation," ABC News reported that Nebenzia said of the U.S. and its NATO allies. "The discussions about a threat of war is provocative in and of itself. You are almost calling for this. You want it to happen. You're waiting for it to happen."

Waltz said the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is in a difficult position, causing a mass panic and economic collapse by talking up the possibility of war.

“I think (Zelensky is) in a very difficult position,” he said. “On the one hand, (he) doesn't want to play into Putin's psychological warfare and cause a collapse of his economy, or cause mass panic in his population, and probably a collapse politically, essentially giving Putin what he wants without even having to fire a shot, so I think he's just walking that fine line in terms of his rhetoric.”

He said, however that he has received a number of briefings that show Russia has the forces on the border it would need to take Ukraine over.

“I can tell you, I've received a number of briefings now, and went out there personally,” he said. “Russia has in place what it needs for a full invasion, should it decide to do so. A few more weeks, they'll have even more in place in terms of naval power, air power and ballistic missiles.”

While he said he does not necessarily think there should be U.S. “boots on the ground” there, the U.S. could do more to supply Ukraine to allow the country to defend itself against Russia.

“I think we could be doing more to support our ally so that they can fight on their own, and they're perfectly willing to do so,” he said.

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