Biden must give Putin ‘bloody nose’ if Russia invades Ukraine – US senators
Republican lawmakers turned up their anti-Russia rhetoric on Wednesday after a meeting with President Joe Biden. The elected represtatives told reporters that the American leader needs to give Russian President Vladimir Putin a “bloody nose,” should Moscow invade Ukraine. Talks between Washington and the Kremlin on the matter are currently stalled.
A bipartisan coalition of senators met with Biden on Wednesday morning after returning from Ukraine, where they pledged US support to pro-Western factions in Kiev. Following the closed-doors meeting, the Republican contingent struck a hawkish tone.
“As of yet no one has given Vladimir Putin a bloody nose,” Mississippi’s Roger Wicker told reporters. “I think the alliance, our friends in NATO and a bipartisan majority are prepared to assist Ukraine in making sure that, if it happens, this time Vladimir Putin will get a bloody nose,” referring to US claims that Moscow is preparing to invade Ukraine.
Moscow has reportedly stationed a large number of troops near its border with Ukraine, but denies that any plans of invasion are afoot, and has reminded the West that these troops are on Russian soil.
The White House insists that Ukraine be allowed to join NATO in the future, while the Kremlin considers the idea of Western forces and weapons stationed so close to its border to be unacceptable. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday in a bid to resolve the deadlock.
Meanwhile, in Washington, both parties are hardening their rhetoric. “We want to have strong bipartisan sanctions,” North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer (R) told reporters after Wednesday’s meeting. “But … enough has been done to punch back a little bit. Right now Vladimir Putin is saying ‘Thank you, Mr. President’ but words are cheap and it's time to demonstrate some action.”
Cramer did not specify what he saw “action” entailing. Likewise Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (D), who also traveled to Kiev with the delegation, promised “consequences” for Putin should the Russian leader move on Ukraine, without explaining what these consequences would be.
Members of the delegation have called on Biden to slap economic sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is currently not pumping gas to the EU due to delays in certification in Germany. Some have also called for shipments of arms to anti-Russian forces in Ukraine.
The White House’s official line on Ukraine is that “all options” are being considered.