U.S. Must Act With Urgency and Seriousness to Deter Russian Aggression

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding national security:

“Finally, beyond our shores, there remains no shortage of forces who wish harm on America and our interests.

“Senators will vote today on a measure to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2.

“We can send a strong warning to Putin that he won’t be allowed to use energy as a weapon. We can signal strong support for Eastern and Central European partners who have long opposed Putin’s pipeline. 

“Even Democratic Senators who now oppose the sanctions they used to support acknowledge the pipeline is a, ‘tool of malign influence of the Russian Federation.’

“The German government should have shelved this project itself long ago. Berlin can still make the right call.

“These sanctions, like the prior Nord Stream 2 sanctions that had overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, are not about driving a wedge in Europe.

“The pipeline is the wedge. That’s the point. That’s been Putin’s goal. Decoupling Ukraine from Europe and making Europe even more reliant on Russian gas.

“For Senators who seem more concerned about standing with Berlin than with Kyiv, this bill includes a waiver. We expect President Biden would exercise it.

“But a clear bipartisan message would still be sent. Just like when 98 Senators voted to enact CAATSA in 2017. Just like when Democrats signed off on a previous bill to sanction Nord Stream 2 in the 2020 NDAA.

“I hope each of our colleagues will support Senator Cruz’s measure. The Senate must show we are focused on the real-life threats to democracy, to security, and to our friends.

“As we speak, Russia is literally preparing to escalate its military assault on Ukraine.  It has amassed more than a hundred thousand troops on Ukraine’s border.

“Deterring Russian aggression and preparing for the very real threat of a major war on the European continent will take far more than these sanctions.

“It will take urgency and seriousness from the Administration.

“Time is of the essence. Our delays in getting emergency assistance to Ukraine approved do not inspire confidence. The Administration cannot move at the speed of bureaucracy. It won’t cut it. Humanitarian and military support to Ukraine cannot wait. Reinforcing American and NATO positions in Europe cannot wait.

“We must not pull our punches out of some fear of provoking Putin. What will encourage Putin is if he senses American weakness.

“Ukraine and our Eastern Flank NATO allies deserve support. They’re on the front lines of a much broader war that Russia and China are conducting against the democratic international order itself.

“This order helps America. It benefits our national interests and our allies.

“But it will not enforce itself. It will not defend itself. And our allies will not act if America fails to lead.

“Our nation’s contest with China and Russia is the biggest challenge we face. It will entail significant risks and perhaps, God forbid, serious sacrifice.

“Meeting these challenges and preventing the worst will take the kind of unity and bipartisanship that President Biden promised. Not the outrageous and divisive partisanship he has embraced.”  


Related Issues: Russia