Russia’s military occupation and annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea undermines the rules, norms, institutions, and legal frameworks that have been the backbone of the international order since World War II and is a test of the international system’s ability to respond. Earlier this month, the Center for American Progress argued that the United States must impose a cost on Russia and provide strong, lasting support for Ukraine while reassuring allies and reinforcing the international system. Both the United States and Europe have taken small but important steps toward these goals, including an initial set of sanctions against political and business leaders close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and one government-connected bank, as well as a total pledge of $16 billion in aid, mostly in the form of loan guarantees. This should be the start of a coordinated international response that will reject Russia’s illegal actions and reinforce states on Russia’s periphery that seek peace, stability, and greater integration with the international community.
This week’s congressional deliberations and meetings between President Barack Obama and his counterparts in Europe should lay the groundwork for a U.S. response that simultaneously imposes sanctions on Russia and provides support to Ukraine.
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