Ukraine: US Promises 'Mother of All Sanctions', Kyiv Urges Moscow to Back Down
Legislation targeting Russian banks and energy companies will also be introduced by the UK this week.
The Senate foreign relations committee of the United States government announced on Sunday, 30 January, that it was close to passing a legislation against Russian President Vladimir Putin that would be "the mother of all sanctions," Reuters reported.
As Putin continued to build up troops, thereby making an invasion of Ukraine seem imminent, US Senators reiterated that they cannot have another "Munich moment", which is a reference to the 1938 agreement between Hitler and then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, that allowed Nazi Germany to annex Czechoslovakia.
The allied powers had agreed to allow Hitler to do so because they wrongly believed that it would satisfy Hitler's expansionist demands.
The appeasement strategy, however, only emboldened Hitler to act more aggressively, eventually leading to the invasion of Poland and the Second World War.
"Putin will not stop if he believes the west will not respond," Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, told CNN's State of the Union.
"We saw what he did in 2008 in Georgia, we saw what he did in 2014 in pursuit of Crimea. He will not stop", he added.
Menendez also claimed that his legislation sanctioning Russia had bipartisan support.
"We are building on the legislation that both Senator Risch wrote independently, and I wrote, which I called the mother of all sanctions. It’s to include a variety of elements, massive sanctions against the most significant Russian banks, crippling to their economy, Russia sovereign debt. These are sanctions beyond any that we have ever levied before", he was quoted as saying.
Kyiv Urges Diplomacy
Amid increasing tensions on the Russo-Ukrainian border, Kyiv has urged the Vladimir Putin government in Russia to withdraw its troops from the border and continue dialogue with the west in order to de-escalate a situation that has been, for weeks, pointing towards a Russian invasion.
The Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, tweeted on Sunday that "if Russian officials are serious when they say they don’t want a new war, Russia must continue diplomatic engagement and pull back military forces it amassed along Ukraine’s borders and in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine."
"Diplomacy is the only responsible way", his tweet added.
He also retweeted German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock's message to him about Germany's "commitment to the inviolability of Ukraine."
UK politicians and intelligence chiefs sent alarm bells ringing last week about the possibility of a Russian invasion, along with the likelihood of a coup in Kyiv leading to a pro-Moscow puppet regime.
Liz Truss, the British foreign secretary, herself warned of the Kremlin coup plot that could be played out simultaneously with a military attack on Ukraine.
British intelligence officials, too, briefed Downing Street last week and claimed that Russia was "two to three weeks away" from amassing a 150,000-plus invasion force, The Guardian reported.
Truss has warned that Russia won't get away with its actions if it indeed conducts an invasion .
Legislation that would allow the UK to target Russian banks, energy companies and "oligarchs close to the Kremlin" will be introduced by the government this week.
"There will be severe costs on an invasion into Ukraine. And we would target Russian financial institutions, we would target energy companies, we will target oligarchs close to the Kremlin," she told the BBC.
Apart from sanctions, the UK has also offered to aid Ukraine by deploying troops on land, air and on sea to bolster NATO's defence on the northern and eastern borders of the country.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is still reeling from the aftermath of 'Partygate', is expected to have a talk with Putin this week concerning the security situation.
(With inputs from The Guardian, BBC,CNN, and Reuters)
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