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On Sunday, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), who is a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, appeared on ABC’s “This Week” with host Martha Raddatz. During the segment, Raddatz asked Ernst about Russia, what measures the United States should take, and why the Russia threat is significant.
“What’s the likelihood you see of a Russian invasion at this point, and why should Americans be worried about that?” Raddatz asked.
After noting that we need to show strength, Ernst outlined the actions she believes should be taken against Russia, such as “expulsion from the Swiss banking system,” and “sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.” The senator also said that we need to provide Ukraine with weapons and defenses.
Regarding what Putin might do following an invasion and sanctions, Raddatz asked if a “NATO military response” should follow. Ernst responded, saying that diplomacy and a display of strength are paramount to avoiding an invasion.
“So far, with this administration, we have seen a doctrine of appeasement. And that certainly is not going to deter President Putin and Russia from invading Ukraine,” Ernst said. “So, let’s make sure that we are pushing back right now with stiff sanctions, making sure that we are showing Putin we do mean business…”
Raddatz closed by asking why this situation should be seen as important to Ernst’s constituents. Ernst said that if Russia takes Ukraine, and the U.S. and NATO do little to respond, Putin could take even more, and “democracy will constrict.”
“It is important that we step up for our allies in Europe. When democracy is stable, that means our troops, our citizens are much more safe,” Ernst stated. “So, this is a concern to our constituents. We need to make sure that democracy is prevailing around the globe and that socialism, communism, the old Soviet Union is not regaining territory.”
Pres. Putin wants to create “a new form of the Soviet Union” by invading Ukraine, @SenJoniErnst says.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 23, 2022
RADDATZ: What’s the likelihood you see of a Russian invasion at this point, and why should Americans be worried about that?
ERNST: Well, we need to be strong as America. And what we see with Russia amassing troops and equipment at the Ukrainian border is indicative of some sort of action. What that will transpire into is yet to be seen.
But what we can say is that we need to be very aggressive in pushing back against President Putin, whether that’s in the form of sanctions, expulsion from the Swiss banking system certainly, sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, all of these actions need to be put into place, as well as continuing to equip our Ukrainian friends with not only defensive capabilities but also offensive weapons, just as Senator Coons had said.
A number of these things have been discussed for months now. And this administration is only just acting on the suggestions that are coming from Congress. We simply need to let Putin know that the United States stands with our Ukrainian friends.
RADDATZ: And what happens if they do invade, if the Russians invade? The sanctions are put in place. What does Putin do next? He hasn’t ruled out missiles to Cuba, Venezuela. Should a NATO military response be on the table if Russia invades?
ERNST: Well, first things first, and let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse. We want to make sure that an invasion doesn’t happen. And that’s why I think diplomacy is very important at this point. But also showing a strong resolve from the United States of America. So far, with this administration, we have seen a doctrine of appeasement. And that certainly is not going to deter President Putin and Russia from invading Ukraine. So, let’s make sure that we are pushing back right now with stiff sanctions, making sure that we are showing Putin we do mean business, but also making those preparations to pull out Americans that are in the most vulnerable area of Ukraine, which is that eastern part of Ukraine, the Donbas region. Let’s make sure they are prepared to move out if necessary.
RADDATZ: And, Senator, I want to go back to my first question. It may be obvious to some, but I would like you to say why is this important to your constituents, to Americans?
ERNST: Well, number one, we do need to fight for democracy. And understanding that Putin’s goal is to retain some of what he had during the Soviet era, that power and control, to expand his reaches across Europe. We know that if he’s able to go into Ukraine, and there’s very little pushback from the United States or from NATO, it allows him to move into other countries in eastern Europe. And we know that when Soviet Union expands, as he wants to see it, it’s, you know, a new form of the Soviet Union, as it expands, democracy will constrict. It is important that we step up for our allies in Europe.
When democracy is stable, that means our troops, our citizens are much more safe. So, this is a concern to our constituents. We need to make sure that democracy is prevailing around the globe and that socialism, communism, the old Soviet Union is not regaining territory.