Only unprecedented sanctions are likely to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine, U.S. House intelligence committee Adam Schiff told CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Sunday.
When asked if he thought scheduled talks could help avert an invasion, the California Democrat said, “I fear that Putin is very likely to invade. I still frankly don’t understand the full motivation for why now he’s doing this, but he certainly appears intent on it unless we can persuade him otherwise. And I think nothing other than a level of sanctions that Russia has never seen will deter him, and that’s exactly what we need to do with our allies.”
Putin has amassed some 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine, with President Joe Biden warning that the the U.S. would impose serious sanctions if Moscow attacked, The Guardian reported.
Negotiations to alleviate tensions are set to be held in Geneva next week, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warning that if “the west continues its aggressive line, Russia will be forced to take all necessary measures to ensure strategic balance and eliminate unacceptable threats to our security.”
Russia has long expressed concerns about the encroachment of NATO, which has expanded eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union and to which Kiev has urgently sought admission.
Schiff stressed on “Face The Nation” that a powerful deterrent is the understanding that if they do invade, it is going to “bring NATO closer to Russia, not push it farther away,” adding that “our allies need to be solidly on board with it. Russia needs to understand we are united in this.”
The congressman added that he had “no problem” with “going after Putin personally,” but said that he thought “sector-sized sanctions will be the most important.”