WASHINGTON — Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown took a hard line Wednesday against Putin’s threats against Ukraine, saying, should they decide to invade, the U.S. would exploit its intelligence on Russia’s operations by using sanctions and other steps to halt the flow of cash that funds their operations.
“I certainly don’t want us dragged into a war,” Brown, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, said in a broadcasted address. “A war in Ukraine would be the biggest war in Europe since World War II … We don’t want any part of that. But we need to send a strong message to Russia on behalf of us, on behalf of Ukraine, and on behalf of the West, that if Russia does any incursion, like they did with Crimea … Their economy is going to feel the wrath of U.S. sanctions aimed at tanks, aimed at a couple of their corporations, aimed at Putin, aimed at Putin’s cronies.”
”Putin got away with a lot of stuff in the last few years. He knew he could threaten Ukraine with little American blow back,” said Brown. “Well, those days are over.”
“Putin’s cronies have gotten very wealthy from Putin’s thuggery,” Brown said. “Putin and his cronies have made billions of dollars, not particularly honestly. Our country’s Intelligence people know a lot about that, and they know how to squeeze them so that all of a sudden their huge pipelines of profits are going to be stopped up and that’s what we do.”
Brown also chairs the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. He said part of this committee’s job is to deal with sanctions. “We’ve got to let them know that we mean business,” should there be an incursion into the Ukraine through Kiev in the north or Donbas in the south. “When we mean business, it means it’s going to hurt their business.”
The position reaches back to his support in April 2021, when Brown issued a statement supporting President Biden’s proposed sanctions against Russia on other fronts.
“These tough, targeted sanctions in response to Russia’s interference in our elections, its cyber-attacks, and other malign activity will hold Putin accountable by imposing real economic costs, and hopefully help deter future Russian aggression,” said Brown. “I applaud President Biden for these important steps, and for once again closely coordinating with our allies to respond forcefully to Russia’s aggressive behavior.”
The potential economic sanctions are over and above the heightened military alert status issued by President Biden Sunday, along with the potential to send 8,000 U.S. military troops and transfer of $200 million in weapons to the Ukraine.
Specific export bans could affect their access to semiconductors, used in smartphones, computer-guided missiles, and military jets.
Meanwhile, Brown announced on Wednesday his plans to support Intel’s historic investment to build a $20 billion semiconductor plant in New Albany, Ohio, which will help to establish a reliable source of semiconductors essential to national security for the U.S. and its allies.
The plant will also support critical Ohio industries in the automotive and high-tech manufacturing sectors, to rid the state of its ‘rust belt’ stigma. Nationally, the plan works to bolster U.S. economic competitiveness aboard while reduce U.S. reliance on supply-chain stymied Chinese-made semiconductors.