Public opinion in the United States may be divided on the best strategy for confronting Vladimir Putin, but almost all Americans would object to their tax dollars’ purchasing Russian military equipment.
Yet that is exactly what is happening, even after Putin’s recent aggression in Ukraine.
Taking steps to meaningfully obstruct this agency’s work and the revenue it provides the Russian state is among the most effective ways the United States can condemn Putin’s recent aggression. Using taxpayer funds to buy Russian equipment was objectionable when it began, became more objectionable as the Russians continued to supply Assad, and now is entirely unacceptable.
It is time to reimpose sanctions on Rosoboronexport and end all U.S. government contracts with Putin’s arms dealer.
Today I am joining with Senators John Cornyn (R., Texas) and Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) to introduce the Russian Weapons Embargo Act of 2014, bipartisan legislation that would forbid the direct or indirect use of American tax dollars to enter contracts or sign agreements with Rosoboronexport. Our proposal would immediately terminate existing contracts and agreements with Putin’s agency. The proposal also would prohibit contracts with any domestic or foreign company that cooperates with Rosoboronexport to design, manufacture, or sell military equipment.
Given Russia’s hostile actions in western Ukraine, we must send the message that there will be no more business as usual. With American credibility and the future of the international order on the line, our actions should reflect that.
This specific economic sanction will harm Russian interests in a serious way without damaging America’s economy.
— Dan Coats represents Indiana in the U.S. Senate. He is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and former U.S. ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany.