https://justthenews.com/government/congress/pence-biden-admin-was-slow-draw-sanctions-against-russia?utm_source=justthenews.com&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=external-news-aggregators

President Joe Biden is frustrating members of both parties for leading from behind during the three-week long Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy bypassed Biden on Wednesday and delivered an address directly to Congress asking for the U.S. to do more to aid Ukraine that what Biden has approved.

“Remember Pearl Harbor, the terrible morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you,” Zelenskyy said. “Remember Sept. 11, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn your cities, independent territories, into battlefields. When innocent people were attacked from the air.”

Reacting to the address, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy immediately called for the U.S. to provide Ukrainians with the “armament they need” to continue to “fight a war that they did not create” against the Russian army.

The California Republican questioned why the Biden administration hadn’t transferred MiG-29 jets to Ukraine weeks ago as lawmakers had requested. He said the delay has put Ukraine at a “disadvantage.” 

Following Zelenskyy’s speech, Biden delivered a speech outlining a new aid package focusing on providing weaponry to the Ukrainian army to combat the Russian invasion.

“We’re going to continue to do more in the days and weeks ahead crippling Putin’s economy with punishing sanctions that’s only going to grow more painful over time,” Biden said.

Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton, a Marine veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the Biden administration is not moving fast enough to combat Russia. 

“You win wars by moving more quickly than your opponent,” he said. “We can’t be playing defense here. We can’t always be responding to what Putin does. We need to take the initiative.”

Moulton also said the Biden administration needs to conduct more of an “information war campaign.”

“We shouldn’t hesitate to tell the Russian people the truth about this war,” he said.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who has visited Ukraine on multiple occasions, told Just the News Wednesday night that Biden failed to move lethal equipment to Ukraine before the invasion as both a deterrence and early advantage to Zelenskyy’s forces.

“It’s pretty obvious that President Biden his administration, have not been leading on this issue,” Johnson told the Just the News TV show. “The world has rallied behind the courage of the Ukrainian people, of the tremendous and courageous leadership of President Zelensky. Not anything that President Biden has done.

“President Biden has been kind of dragged into providing the type of lethal defensive weaponry that Ukraine needs to defend itself. So it’s unfortunate. What the administration should have done is they should have loaded up lethal defensive weaponry, before Vladimir Putin invaded to try and deter him to change his calculus,” he added.

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat who challenged Biden for the presidential nomination in 2020, has also criticized Biden’s stewardship.

Gabbard, a U.S. Army veteran, has argued Biden and NATO countries should have “acknowledged Russia’s legitimate security concerns regarding Ukraine’s becoming a member of NATO” as a possible way to prevent the war.

“The fact that we’re seeing things play out as they are should not be of any surprise to anyone,” Gabbard said.“This could have been prevented, and it’s a failure of leadership.”

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida disagrees, saying that Ukraine not becoming a member of the NATO wasn’t Putin’s only demand. 

“As recently as last week he once again demanded NATO leave every country that joined after 1997 including Bulgaria, Romania & 12 others,” he wrote on Feb. 23.

Since late February, members of Biden’s own party were calling on him to step up the sanctions against Russia.

“Congress and the Biden administration must not shy away from any options,” Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said on Feb. 24.

Biden later stepped up the sanctions but they didn’t impact the energy sector in Russia.

Earlier this month, Biden faced bipartisan pressure to cut off oil imports from Russia. A bipartisan group of 18 senators called for the oil import ban and an increase of domestic oil production. 

The president eventually announced his support for the oil import ban and it passed Congress.

Over the last week, members of both parties have discussed suspending normal trade relations with Russia during the invasion of Ukraine. Biden said on Friday that he supports such a move but legislation has not been passed to make it happen yet.

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who visited the border of the Ukraine recently, argued Wednesday that the White House was slow to respond to the Russian invasion with economic sanction as well as cutting off Russian oil imports.

“The Biden administration was slow on the draw with sanctions. They were slow to sanction oil. They stepped that up but I think we need to bring the hammer down. I mean, Putin must stop or Putin must pay,” Pence said during an interview reacting to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s address to Congress. “I can tell you, having stood toe to toe with him and looked him right in the eye, Vladimir Putin only understands strength and we need to meet this moment with American strength all across the board.”

Pence said the Obama administration provided “blankets and boxed meals” for Ukraine but “lethal support” was provided during the Trump administration. He said the Biden Administration must continue to provide Ukraine with more lethal aid.

“When the Biden administration took over, they once again, stopped providing lethal support. I’m glad that they re-initiated that. But we’ve got to double down,” he said.

Pence also suggested the establishment of a 21st century Berlin airlift. 

The Indiana Republican called for “additional sanctions” to economically isolate Russian leader Vladimir Putin. He also said the U.S. should transfer the MiG jets from Poland.

“The world has been inspired by President Zelenskyy,” he said. “Putin must pay for the violence he is visiting upon the people of Ukraine.”

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