The Lead

U.S. should prepare for ‘long game’ on Ukraine aid and sanctions, Colo. U.S. Rep. Jason Crow says

By: - March 2, 2022 2:30 pm

Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill with members of The American Legion on June 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working with groups like The American Legion to push for the Biden Administration to approve the evacuation of Afghans who assisted American forces during the war in Afghanistan before the September 11th troop withdrawal deadline. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

By Chase Woodruff

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its second week, Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado said Wednesday that the international community should be prepared for a long-haul effort to provide military and humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian people and maintain aggressive economic sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s regime.

But Crow, a Democrat who represents Colorado’s 6th District and sits on both the House intelligence and armed-services committees, also said that further escalations like a no-fly zone — which would involve U.S. forces engaging in air combat with Russian planes over Ukraine — are “extremely dangerous” and should be avoided.

“Those that are talking about (a no-fly zone), I don’t think fully understand what that means and how you do that,” Crow said in a call with reporters Wednesday. “It would immediately put us into a war-time footing with Russia, and we’d be in a position of the two largest nuclear powers being in an all-out war in Europe.”

Instead, Crow urged his colleagues in Congress to swiftly pass a supplemental funding bill that would provide billions in military and humanitarian aid as the conflict continues and millions of Ukrainians flee the country.

He said that while Russian forces experienced “substantial setbacks” in the first days of the invasion — including supply shortages, low morale and unexpectedly fierce Ukrainian resistance — Russia’s military is now committing additional resources, and Ukrainian opposition could increasingly resemble a “resistance movement” as Russia occupies large portions of the country.

“We have every reason to believe that Vladimir Putin will continue the aggressive push, and actually ramp up the brutality of the invasion, and resort to siege tactics and indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations,” Crow said.

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He praised what he said was an “unprecedented response by the international community” to isolate Russia as a “pariah state” through a harsh regime of economic sanctions targeting Russia’s central bank and its political and business elite.

“Never before in history have we seen the quantity, the scope and the type of sanctions that we’re seeing levied by European countries and the international community against Russia,” Crow said.

Amid concerns from some observers about the impact of harsh economic sanctions on ordinary Russians, Crow acknowledged that some skepticism of sanctions is “well-founded.” He called for aggressive action by the U.S. Treasury Department and U.S. allies to seize the assets of Russian oligarchs, efforts that can prove difficult because of complex or secretive ownership practices.

“We have to make sure that we are not only doing the right sanctions, but doing them substantially, that we are sticking with them,” Crow said. “Sanctions take months or even sometimes years to take effect … This is going to be a long game, and there’s going to be fits and starts to making it happen.”

Chase Woodruff is a reporter for Colorado Newsline, a sibling site of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this story first appeared.

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