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Sen. Durbin supports further sanctions on Putin and his 'rich boys' inner circle

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said he would like to see more from the Biden administration in terms of sanctions against Russia, but also wants to provide “latitude” to think through the proper steps that need to be taken next.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said he supports the Biden administration’s approach so far on sanctions against Russia — although he hopes for even further sanctions personally on Vladimir Putin and his inner circle.

President Biden said the new sanctions will withdraw customary trade and financial relationships for foreign and security policy purposes, designed to negatively impact Russia’s military and economy.

Durbin, D-Illinois, just returned from Lithuania on Thursday, where he visited with U.S. troops. He said American troops are in a precarious position as the U.S. supports the most vulnerable NATO countries like Poland, Lithuania, and the Baltic republics.

He noted Putin has only attempted to invade smaller territories, never a country as large as Ukraine.

“His ambitions may be more than just Ukraine, I’m afraid,” Durbin said.

Durbin emphasized the need to target Putin’s oligarchs as well. They have been living what Durbin described as “lavish lifestyles” by stealing money from Russians.

“These rich boys in Russia that are such buddies with Vladimir Putin,” Durbin said, “anything we can do to stop their lifestyle and make them pay a price should be included in the sanctions package.”

While Durbin said he would like to see more from the Biden administration in the sanctions regime, also wants to give the U.S. officials “latitude” to think through the proper steps that need to be taken next.

“I would take this war home to Putin and his oligarchs,” Durbin said. “I’d let them feel the pain directly. I think we’ve been playing with kid gloves as far as they’re concerned, and I think this invasion of Ukraine puts an end to that.”

According to Durbin, Russian civilians who were protesting in the streets against Putin were arrested.

“It could be that national sentiment in Russia is not behind Putin and if it’s not, then the sanctions are going to bring this war home to a lot of innocent Russians who may not be supporting Putin’s aggression,” he said.

Durbin said his heart and prayers go out to the people of Ukraine, U.S. soldiers and those in the Chicagoland area that have friends and family in Ukraine and NATO countries.

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Marissa Harvey is a reporting intern at WGLT. She joined in the spring semester of 2022.
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