The Wall Street Journal reports that Senate Republicans are coalescing behind new legislation that would impose tougher sanctions on Russia and authorize direct military assistance, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, to Ukraine and other nations threatened by Russia:
The GOP senators’ bill would map out a more assertive plan for keeping Russian President Vladimir Putin in check, Mr. Corker said, including by implementing new sanctions on Russian banks, energy companies and a major Russian arms dealer.
Some of the sanctions would go into effect immediately, while others would kick in if Russian armed forces cross further into Ukraine or if Russia further annexes any new area. The goal is “so that we actually do something that affects the Russian economy until such a time that they pull those troops from the border,” Mr. Corker said.
The bill also seeks to build support for NATO allies by requiring Mr. Obama to increase support for the armed forces of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia and facilitate access to military equipment for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Up to $100 million of direct military assistance to Ukraine would also be authorized, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons and small arms.
The White House did not have an immediate response to the GOP bill.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Marco Rubio of Florida and Dan Coats of Indiana, among others, are expected to support the bill. It was not immediately clear if any Democrats would back the legislation.
Florida senator Marco Rubio discussed the new effort last night with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News: