U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called for immediate action in response to a possible invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
At a press conference Tuesday in Columbia at the State House, Graham called for sanctions against Russia for provoking the Ukraine and its NATO allies.
“Don’t wait for the invasion,” Graham said. “They’re destroying the Ukrainian economy and they’re throwing Europe into chaos.”
Graham, who was in Columbia to discuss a proposed Constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget, added he supported sending 8,500 U.S. troops to Eastern Europe in preparation for the possible invasion.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon put the troops on alert for a possible deployment, which officials said would be used to supplement NATO’s response force.
Graham also called for the U.S. to help to better arm their Ukrainian counterparts so they can better defend themselves.
“What the signal I want to send is, ‘We’re not going to back off,’ ” Graham said.
Graham warned that the world’s response to the possible invasion could have long-term implications.
The Seneca Republican said the crisis in the Ukraine is a chance for NATO to prove itself capable of stopping “bullies” from taking other states that they want.
“If we get Ukraine right, we can reset the world,” Graham said. “If we get it wrong, God help Taiwan.”
Russian troops have been building along the country’s border with the Ukraine and military exercises have been observed nearby in recent weeks.
Both Russian and Ukrainian officials have denied that there was an invasion in the works, even as Ukraine receives military equipment from the U.S. and NATO allies makes plans to position troops around the area.
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