The latest on the Ukraine-Russia border crisis: Live updates



Senators on the Armed Services Committee remain skeptical of reports that Russia had started returning some troops to bases after the completion of military exercises in the southern and western military districts. 

“I think it’s awesome, but again you can’t trust Putin,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama, told reporters outside of a morning Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. 

“Everything we’ve learned so far is that this will be Mr. Putin’s decision. You don’t know whether he’s allowing us to see a small retreat while at the same time making other plans or if he’s trying to send a message that he’s interested in negotiating,” added Sen. Mike Rounds, who also sits on the committee. “We simply don’t know. What we do know is that he’s amassed a huge army, that he’s made it very clear that he wants concessions or he intends to invade.”

The South Dakota Republican continued: “What we do know is that we have to be in a position to respond either way.” 

Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, echoed those sentiments and said he thinks it’s “very serious” and “the situation is at a critical point.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, however, took it as a positive sign and said it signaled that “deterrence seems to be working.”

“Vladimir Putin is getting the message,” he said.

But the Connecticut Democrat argued that “there’s no reason to let up at this point on a strategy that seems to be having results.”

As CNN’s Lauren Fox reported, talks of a sanctions package in Congress have hit a snag, and it is more likely the Senate could pass a more generic resolution admonishing a potential Russian invasion.

Hawley argued the chamber passing such a resolution “doesn’t really do any good” and blasted the Biden administration and Democrats for not being tough enough on Russia. 

Tuberville added that he believed sanctions should have been placed on Russia “months ago,” but the situation now remains the same.

Bipartisan senators say they’re still trying to hash out a sanctions package, but preemptive sanctions remain one of the points of contention.

“I think that there, our concerns are that if you put sanctions too early that you just might harden his position, and then there are people with the other view that we shouldn’t put sanctions now,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) said. “My view is to possibly be cautious about it, but to make it very clear that we shouldn’t pursue anything aggressive along the lines of what we have said is not acceptable, then we will bring sanctions.”


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