Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Senate Foreign Relations chairman Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) blasted President Barack Obama’s inaction against Russia’s “direct invasion” into Eastern Ukraine saying it is a “watershed moment” and if the United States does not aggressively assist Ukraine the “consequences” will “flow even far beyond” Russia.
Menendez said the West should give Ukraine “defensive weapons” because “thousands of Russian troops are here with tanks, missiles, heavy artillery,” and Russian President Vladimir Putin “has sized up the West and figured that the most difficult sanctions against Russia and the arms necessary for the Ukrainians to defend themselves is not coming from the West.”
He said, “This is a direct invasion by Russia. We must recognize it as that. When I read the headlines back at home that suggests rebels are advancing in different parts of Eastern Ukraine it’s not rebels it’s Russian soldiers.”
Menendez continued, “The European Union, NATO, as well as the United States, has to consider that this is dramatically different.”
“If there is not a heavy price for Russia to pay for its invasion of Ukraine, then what do we say to China in the South China Sea. What do we say to Iran as it seeks to pursue nuclear weapons. What do we say to North Korea and the Korean Peninsula. These are consequences that flow even far beyond the conflict that’s taking place here. And that’s what we have to think about in terms of our national interest security to preserve an international order that ultimately observes the rule of law and doesn’t ultimately violate it by invasions and territorial annexation,” he concluded.
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