Ind. Senator Coats Banned From Russia

Posted On March 20, 2014

By Mike Perleberg 

(Washington, D.C.) – An Indiana U.S. Senator’s harsh criticism of Russia’s action regarding the Crimea crisis has earned that senator a ban on entering the country.

The Russian government announced Thursday that a number of U.S. government and elected officials were banned, including Indiana Senator Dan Coats (R). Also on the sanction list from the Kremlin were House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Three White House aides were also included.

Many of them are wearing the Russian sanction as a badge of honor.

“While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go on vacation with my family in Siberia this summer, I am honored to be on this list,” Coats said in a statement. “Putin’s recent aggression is unacceptable, and America must join with our European allies to isolate and punish Russia. I will continue to lead efforts on Capitol Hill to bring Putin to his senses.”

Coats, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has had terse words for Russia in a number of letters he has had published in newspapers. Monday in the Indianapolis Star, Coats explained why Hoosiers should care about the Ukraine situation.

“Policymakers should draw from such lessons. In order to avoid larger and likely more disastrous developments down the road, America must confront the choice of simply letting Russian President Vladimir Putin have his way or spearheading an international response to bring him to his senses,” Coats said.

“A second, related American interest is the stability of the European continent itself. Ukraine is not an obscure sideshow. It is comprised of the remnants of two European empires and deeply embedded in the integrated structure, identity, economy and culture of Europe as a whole.”

Also Thursday, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. will be broadening sanctions against Russia.  Obama identified new targets of sanctions, including more senior Russian government officials, businessmen and a Russian bank.  The President said the latest moves also open the door to possible sanctions on entire sectors of the Russian economy.

Obama called Russia’s annexation of Crimea an illegitimate move.  He accused Moscow of raising tensions to dangerous levels in Ukraine.

“We’re imposing sanctions on more senior officials of the Russian government. In addition, we are today sanctioning a number of other individuals with substantial resources and imports who provide interior support to the Russian leadership,” the President said.

Obama He noted that Russia still has a “different path” available to it and warned of further sanctions from the U.S. and allies if a course change does not occur.

“One that de-escalates the situation and one that involves Russia pursuing a diplomatic solution with the government in Kiev,” Obama said.

The President said the Ukrainian people should be able to determine their own destiny.  He also urged Congress to move quickly to finalize $1 billion in energy loan guarantees to Ukraine.