Lankford Pushes for Economic Sanctions Against Russia for Aggression Against Ukraine

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to lead their Republican colleagues in introducing the Never Yielding Europe’s Territory (NYET) Act to provide the critical support Ukraine needs to defend itself and deter Russian aggression today, while imposing real costs on the Kremlin for its ongoing and potential future aggression against Ukraine.

“It’s easier to stop a war that has never started than it is to end a war in process. Strong economic sanctions against Russia, and any other country that helps them, for their unprovoked aggression against Ukraine will send a clearer message to President Putin than President Biden’s ‘wait and see’ approach,” said Lankford. “We should stand up to Russian aggression and take practical steps to prevent war.” 

“While a ‘military’ invasion has not yet occurred, there are other ways Russia can attack Ukraine that would be debilitating for Ukrainians and European security more generally,” said Risch. “Rather than simply restating authorities the president already has, the NYET Act takes immediate action to permanently stop Nord Stream 2, sends a powerful deterrent message, imposes heavy economic and military costs on Russia, strengthens US allies and partners, and supports Ukraine via new authorities, funds, and tools.”

Joining Lankford and Risch as cosponsors are Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rob Portman (R-OH), John Barrasso (R-WY), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Todd Young (R-IN), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Kennedy (R-LA), John Boozman (R-AR), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Richard Burr (R-NC), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Thune (R-SD), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Mike Rounds (R-SD).

The NYET Act:

Imposes real costs on Russia:

  • Immediately stops construction of the Nord Stream 2 project and would mandate sanctions on the project without a waiver should Russia invade. Prior to an invasion, the bill suspends sanctions for as long as the German government continues to suspend the certification process. 
  • Sends a clear deterrent message to Putin that an invasion of Ukraine will result in massive economic consequences to Russia’s economy, including: 
    • Sanctions on major Russian banks; and
    • Secondary sanctions on banks that continue business with sanctioned Russian banks.
    • Sanctions Putin’s cronies, enablers, and major banks before Russia further invades Ukraine to ensure Putin pays a price now for hybrid attacks already launched.
    • Allows any chairman or ranking member of a national security committee to force a determination from the president on whether Russia’s aggression against Ukraine constitutes a major escalation and fulfills conditions to trigger sanctions.

Supports Ukraine before, during, and after a Russian escalation:

  • Provides $500 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Ukraine, including $250 million in emergency funding, with $100 million for emergency lethal assistance for critical capabilities like air defense, anti-armor, and anti-ship capabilities.
  • Creates a new Ukraine Resistance Fund to help Ukraine resist attempts to occupy or subjugate any new territory Russia seizes, while sending a clear message to Putin that his military will pay a price for advances into sovereign Ukrainian territory.
  • Authorizes a new lend-lease authority for Ukraine.
  • Expedites congressional review of arms sales and security assistance to Ukraine.

Counters Russian malign influence and aggression throughout Europe:

  • Doubles funding for US military exercises in Europe.
  • Creates a new State Department FMF program for Eastern Europe to help European allies strengthen their own defensive capabilities and incentivize greater burden-sharing.
  • Boosts funding for State Department efforts to counter Russian disinformation, including the Global Engagement Center, and expands broadcasting by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.