Sen. Ernst: Biden Must Be 'Very Clear' With Putin, US Won't Stand For Ukraine Invasion Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing in 2020. ( Caroline Brehman-Pool/Getty Images)
By Fran Beyer | Sunday, 05 December 2021 10:07 AM
President Joe Biden has to be “very clear”with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States will not tolerate an invasion by Russia in Ukraine, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is urging.
In an interview on “Fox News Sunday, Ernst said the United States, however, has to “prepare for the worst.”
Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak by telephone on Tuesday as tensions between the U.S. and Russia escalate over a Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border seen as a sign of a potential invasion.
“I do think that President Biden needs to be very clear and very strong in his message to Vladimir Putin,” she said. “He needs to say … that we are no longer going to continue with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and we need you to know and understand that we will defend Ukraine and provide them assistance. He needs to make that very clear.”
The administration in May defied Congress and suspended sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, citing the need to avoid upsetting relations with Germany and other European partners.
“Democrats are concerned and Republicans are concerned,” Ernst said. “What we do not want to do is allow President Putin to continue with the pipeline. Especially as he is preparing, perhaps, to invade Ukraine. We have to push back on that and I think there is a large group of United States senators that will push back.”
According to Ernst, sanctions against Russia “would be even more powerful” in the effort to stop the pipeline.
“What Putin is trying to do here in one of his objectives is to divide the United States and Europe,” she said. “If we are going to maintain unity, transatlantic community… we have to work [with] our European partners. That includes Germany. I would urge the Senate to think about that.”
Ernst also urged the Biden administration to deal with the “threat in China” whether it’s in the cyberspace domain, “it's disruption to their built-in roads initiative all around the world” and the buildup of man-made islands in the South China Sea or “incursions on Taiwan and Taiwanese airspace.”
“A very clear message from the president to [China] President [Xi Jinping] … is very helpful,” she said, referring to the teleconference between Biden and Xi in November.
“We had a lost opportunity when President Biden requested to meet with President Xi but he is the one that took center stage and maintained dominance. While we want to engage in trade and other activities, we cannot allow any nefarious types of activities.”