Levin: Make Russia Pay for Aggression

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is a “direct challenge to the post-Cold War hopes for Europe,” and the United States must respond by helping Ukraine defend itself and making it clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin that “he cannot reject the post-Cold War norms while continuing to participate in the Western economy,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said Thursday. Levin said Putin apparently believes he can “act with impunity to impose Russia’s will much as the Soviet Union did during the Cold War.” Because of Russia’s overwhelming military advantage and willingness to violate the international norms, “there is little Ukraine could do to stop a direct large-scale military act,” Levin told a Council on Foreign Relations audience. “NATO will not go to war over Ukraine, nor should we lead the Ukrainians to believe we will,” he said. But the United States must do what it can to help Ukraine defend itself, with “both lethal and non-lethal aid,” including MRAPs that otherwise would be shredded as US forces leave Afghanistan. And the West should continue to impose economic sanctions. Shortly after Levin’s appearance, President Obama announced that the United States and the European Union had agreed to “deepen and broaden sanctions on Russia’s financial, energy, and defense sectors,” according to a White House release.