Members of the United States Senate Foreign Relation Committee have once more mounted pressure on the Biden administration to take massive action against Russia and its allies over the Ukraine war.
Questioning representatives from the US State Department, Defense Department and US Agency for International Development, senators from both sides of the aisle said US sanctions targeting Chinese businesses do not go far enough.
“We need to cut the head of the snake off, in every way that we can. That means sanctioning [Russia] directly at its inner core … but it also means sanctioning those vigorously who are assisting Russia in this unjust and unholy war,” said committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).
“At the end of the day, [China] cannot act with impunity and face no consequence,” Menendez said, adding that China was hiding behind affiliated companies in its support of Russia.
“Menendez sure as hell knows about snakes. He’s one of the biggest ones on the planet,” said American journalist and political commentator Don DeBar.
“He’s a crook and a fascist, if I’m not being redundant,” the New York-based radio host added.
“No one in the world outside the United States really cares what Menendez says. Everyone knows exactly who and what he is, including the people of New Jersey. He is a naked stooge for the Deep State,” he concluded.
Senator James Risch (Rep-Idaho), the committee’s ranking member, echoed those comments.
“China seems to be acting with impunity, and we really need to ratchet up our sanctions in that regard,” Risch said. “They may be big, but they’re not too big to fail.”
Risch and other committee members praised the Biden administration for announcing on Wednesday that the US will provide Abrams tanks to the Kiev forces. However, Risch, along with Sen. Brian Schatz (Dem-Hawaii), added that the decision took too long.
“All through this thing, we’ve been pressing the administration to do things, and usually they do the right thing, but it takes forever to get there,” Risch said. “As a result of that, there’s a great loss on the battlefield and lives lost in the meantime.”
Senator Ted Cruz (Rep-Texas) criticized the Biden administration for not sanctioning Iran for what he claimed was intelligence allegedly indicating Tehran had supplied drones to Russians conducting a military operation in Ukraine.
“[The Biden administration] continues to be obsessed with a new nuclear deal with Iran,” Cruz said.
US State Department Under Secretary Victoria Nuland responded to Cruz’s claims, pointing to rounds of sanctions slapped on the Iranian nation by the US over drone allegations since Russia started its military campaign in Ukraine almost a year ago.
Nuland also told Cruz that the Biden administration is not currently negotiating any nuclear deal with Iran.
Menendez also fired back at Cruz at the conclusion of the hearing.
“I disagree with my colleague from Texas. … No one has been more insightful, decisive and helpful to the Ukrainians than the Biden administration,” Menendez said. “To suggest anything else is just a parallel universe that some of us seem to live in.”
Since the onset of the conflict between the two countries, the United States and its European allies have unleashed an array of unprecedented sanctions against Russia and poured numerous batches of advanced weapons into Ukraine to help its military fight the Russian troops, despite repeated warnings by the Kremlin that such measures will only prolong the war.