US lawmakers are calling for preventive sanctions as Ukrainian weapons to Putin. to deter

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A group of US lawmakers on Tuesday called for preventive sanctions against Russia and increased arms shipments to Ukraine, fearing measures so far could not prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading.

After a weekend visit to Ukraine, the three lawmakers – all military veterans – said, convinced Putin was serious about an attack, when tens of thousands of soldiers gathered near the Ukrainian border.

“We have to worry more about deterring Putin than provoking him,” the Democrat Seth Moulton told reporters.

“If Putin marches in, I want him to know that in the next five minutes he will have trouble buying lemonade from a vending machine, not NATO calling a conference to discuss what will happen in the following weeks next thing to do. “

In a phone call with Putin last week, US President Joe Biden warned that Russia would “have never seen sanctions like it before” if Moscow invaded Ukraine, which is already fighting pro-Russian separatists.

Republican Mike Waltz said the United States should already impose sanctions for destabilization.

“I think the promise of tough measures … after an invasion will do very little on Putin’s calculations,” said Waltz.

He called on the Biden government to cut red tape and immediately deliver weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles, to Ukraine.

Democrat Ruben Gallego said Ukraine could deter Putin by convincing him “that an invasion will be bloody and protracted”.

“It will be an existential threat to his leadership if he suffers such a massive loss,” added Gallego.

Like Biden, lawmakers excluded the use of US troops.

Putin has increased pressure on Ukraine since a 2014 uprising overthrew a president who opposed calls for the nation to focus more on the West.

The US and its allies have been accusing Russia for weeks of planning an invasion of its neighbor and warning of massive coordinated sanctions should Putin launch an attack.

Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers are stationed near the borders of the former Soviet Ukraine, where the West has accused the Kremlin of supporting pro-Moscow separatists since 2014.

Speaking on the phone with the Finnish president, whose country has traditionally served as the middle ground between Russia and the West, Putin said he wanted security talks to start immediately.

He told Finnish President Sauli Niinsto that Moscow “wanted to start negotiations with the United States and NATO immediately to develop international guarantees for the security of our country,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

Russia’s demands included preventing NATO from expanding to the east and preventing the use of weapons in neighboring countries, including Ukraine.

Putin repeated the same demands in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron later on Tuesday.

In his telephone conversation with the Finnish President, Putin accused the Ukrainian leadership of increasingly using “heavy weapons and attack drones” against pro-Russian rebels in their separatist East.

The Russian leader denies planning an invasion, blames the Western security alliance for rising tensions and calls for “legal guarantees” that the alliance will not expand eastwards.

The EU and the Group of Seven have met in the past few days to coordinate an unprecedented economic sanctions regime if Russia attacks.

Putin’s remarks come a day after Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned that Moscow could act militarily if the talks he had requested do not materialize.

“The lack of progress in a politico-diplomatic solution to this problem will lead us to react militarily,” said Ryabkov of the state news agency RIA Novosti.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also told his new German counterpart Annalena Baerbock on Tuesday about the “need to give our country security guarantees” with regard to NATO expansion, Moscow said.

Berlin has one of the most important cards in the sanctions pile if it decides that Putin’s actions justify blocking the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

Tensions continued to build on Tuesday when Russia said it was watching a French warship near its borders in the Black Sea.

Putin has accused the West of provoking tension in the Black Sea – a sensitive region for Russia that controls the Crimean peninsula after it was annexed by Ukraine in 2014.

Kiev has been fighting a pro-Russian uprising in its eastern regions since annexation. The conflict has claimed more than 13,000 lives.

The US sent its top diplomat Karen Donfried – Deputy Secretary of the Office for European Affairs – on a trip to Kiev, Moscow and the EU capital Brussels this week amid mounting tensions.

“Our goal is to help Ukraine de-escalate the tensions arising from the construction of Russia,” Donfried said on Tuesday in Kiev, where she began her tour.

She is expected in Moscow on Wednesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj accused Germany’s Kiev ally of blocking the delivery of NATO weapons to the country.

“Germany recently prevented us from getting anti-drone rifles and anti-sniper systems from NATO, which are strictly defense instruments,” Zelensky said in an interview published on Tuesday with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

“Don’t we have the right to have them in the eighth year of the war? Of course we do, ”he added.

A spokesman for the Federal Foreign Office said on Monday that “at this point in time, one could not comment on the confidential decisions in the heart of the (NATO) alliance”.

Kiev’s use of Turkish Bayraktar drones in October was criticized by Russia and some of its Western allies, including France and Germany.

Zelenskyi warned of “much higher losses” in the event of an invasion.

“Is Russian society prepared to pay for the attempt to occupy another part of Ukraine with the lives of their sons?” He asked.

A new poll released Tuesday by Russia’s independent levada center found that 36% of Russians believe recent tensions between Moscow and Kiev could lead to war.

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