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Ukrainian ambassador to US: All Russian banks must be sanctioned to stop 'war crimes'

Ukrainian ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova said on Tuesday the U.S. should take bold steps in its forthcoming sanctions package, including targeting all Russian banks.

Asked by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell whether she thinks the sanctions package, previewed by the White House on Tuesday, will have “some real teeth,” Markarova called on the U.S. to “be bold” and demonstrate that democratic countries are united against Russia and its “war crimes.”

“We have to toughen and deepen the sanctions that already are introduced,” she said, “and frankly, we just have to be bold, and we have to sanction all Russian banks, and we have to do something more.”

“Not only to deny them the right to make money to continue this,” she continued, “but to show that actually the isolation of Russia is going to be a real thing, if they do not stop all their war crimes. You know, they have been killing people in Russia and outside of Russia for all the time since the breakup of the Soviet Union. It’s about time we all tell them stop.”

The White House announced on Tuesday that a major sanctions package against Russia will come Friday and will aim to “hold Russia accountable” for the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Navalny’s death sparked global outcry among U.S. allies, and Biden has blamed Putin for Navalny’s death in a prison in Russia. He told reporters last week the White House is “looking at a whole number of options right now” as to how to respond.

Markarova stressed the importance of democratic allies showing unity at this moment and to push toward further isolating Russia.

“We have to toughen the sanctions we have to double down on isolating Russia in all international fora. We have to do everything possible to send a very clear message that we all democratic countries are united, and we also are ready to take decisions, and these decisions are going to be painful for Russia.”

Markarova’s remarks also come as Congress struggles to pass Biden’s request for foreign aid, which he made more than four months ago and which included aid for Ukraine, Israel and allies in the Indo-Pacific region. The Senate passed a new aid package last week, but Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has said he would not bring it to the House floor for a vote.

Markarova said in the interview specifically that Ukrainians “count on” the continued support from the House. She also thanked the U.S. for the aid provided over the last two years, which she said has been effective and will continue to be effective at defeating Russia, as long as it continues for a little longer.

“I just want to thank the American people and President Biden and Congress on a very strong bipartisan basis, on all the support that we have received during this two years,” she said.

“And that support works,” Markarova added. “So let’s continue doing what works. Let’s do a little bit more. And let’s stop it before he attacks another country, before he does more destruction in Ukraine, before he tortures more innocent people in Ukraine and before he kills more people in Russia.”

Source: The Hill

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