Russia-Ukraine war: Reps. Omar, Bush warn against 'inhumane,' 'broad-based sanctions'
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Members of the far-left “Squad” warned against “inhumane” and “broad-based sanctions” on Russia that “amount to collective punishment” against Russian citizens.
Several progressive lawmakers released statements supporting President Biden further sanctioning the Kremlin after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but cautioned against sanctions that would affect the people of Russia.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., warned in a statement against “broad-based sanctions” that “amount to collective punishment” against the Russian people.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., warned against "broad-based sanctions" that "amount to collective punishment" against the Russian people.
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
“I support sanctions that are targeted at Putin, his oligarchs, and the Russian military, including and especially targeted at their offshore assets,” Omar said. “But I will continue to oppose broad-based sanctions that would amount to collective punishment of a Russian population that did not choose this.”
“I am heartened that the Biden Administration has included humanitarian exemptions and general licenses to the first tranche of sanctions, but I am also aware that exemptions and licenses have never been sufficient to prevent indiscriminate human suffering,” she continued.
Omar also called for “making allowances for humanitarian organizations to operate in sanctioned territory, and it also includes preparing to welcome the likely influx of refugees fleeing the conflict.”
Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., also warned against imposing harsh sanctions against Russia, instead calling on the U.S. to push for diplomacy in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression.
Congresswoman Cori Bush.
“Putin’s murderous dictatorship is killing people right now in a brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine,” she said. “Now is the time for us to act with moral clarity. We must use every tool to save lives and promote diplomacy — not military escalation or inhumane sanctions.”
Biden announced new, harsh sanctions on Thursday.
“I’m authorizing additional strong sanctions and new limitations on what can be exported to Russia. This is going to impose severe costs on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time,” Biden said.
Not all progressives are explicitly calling for Biden to hold back on sanctions. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., demanded severe sanctions on Putin and Russian oligarchs and pushed for diplomacy, but he did not say Biden should hold back on farther-reaching sanctions against Russia.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., called for de-escalation without specifically panning the idea of certain sanctions. In fact, he said the Biden administration should “do all it can to create conditions that may require Russia to engage in diplomacy that would result in an immediate ceasefire, at minimum.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined at left by Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters after a Republican strategy meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
On the GOP side, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said we are “all together at this point and we need to be together about what should be done” while calling for harsher sanctions.
“But I have some advice. Ratchet the sanctions all the way up. Don’t hold any back. Every single available tough sanction should be employed and should be employed now,” McConnell said. “There’s no such thing as a little invasion.”
The “Squad” statements came ahead of President Biden’s announcement of further sanctions on Russia over the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine this week.
Biden’s speech saw the president take questions from the press — a rarity for him — but also featured him dodging questions on whether he’d sanction Putin.
Biden’s sanctions also won’t cut Russia off from the SWIFT global banking system. Asked why he isn’t taking that extra step, Biden said his proposals are also strong and that “the rest of Europe” does not want to cut Russia off from SWIFT.
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