(Adds details on planned legislation, new quote, background;
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON, April 28 Senior U.S. Republican
lawmakers said on Monday the latest sanctions imposed on Russian
individuals and companies are too mild to deter Moscow from
further action in Ukraine and promised to offer legislation as
soon as this week to pressure the Obama administration to take
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who earlier this month
visited Ukraine and neighboring countries, called the new
sanctions "just a slap on the wrist," and said it was time for
measures that would affect the Russian economy.
"Until you hit three or four of the large banks - the
financial institutions - until you hit one of the energy
producers at least, Gazprom, or someone, I just don't
think it's going to have the effect on Putin to change his
behavior," Corker told reporters at the U.S. Capitol.
He said he likely would introduce legislation this week
seeking to strengthen NATO, impose tough sanctions on Russian
energy and some of its "significant" financial institutions and
provide military aid and other assistance to Ukraine and
Another Republican working on sanctions legislation, Indiana
Senator Dan Coats, a former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, said he
was confident both Republicans and President Barack Obama's
fellow Democrats would back tougher sanctions if Obama were to
back more diplomatic, economic and financial sanctions.
The United States imposed new sanctions on allies of Russian
President Vladimir Putin on Monday, prompting Moscow to denounce
"Cold War" tactics amid more violence in eastern Ukraine.
Banning visas and freezing assets of the likes of Putin's friend
Igor Sechin, head of oil giant Rosneft, the new
sanctions came as European allies wrangled over how to follow
suit without badly hurting their own economies.
Obama's fellow Democrats were more positive, but said they
thought more sanctions would be needed. They also stressed the
importance of imposing sanctions in connection with Europe.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, chairman of the Senate's Europe
subcommittee, said the sanctions announced Monday "send a strong
signal to Moscow." However, the Connecticut Democrat added that
Washington's European allies must also impose sanctions and that
tougher measures might be needed without "real action" from
Democratic U.S. Representative Adam Schiff also said the
U.S. sanctions announced on Monday must be matched quickly by
Europe, and that he thought wider measures would be required
"Regrettably, it will likely be necessary to go further and
sanction whole sectors of the Russian economy - their banking,
mining, energy and arms industries among others," Schiff, a
California representative, said in a statement.
Many members of Congress have been clamoring for the Obama
administration to impose broad sectoral sanctions on Moscow.
Several have urged more aid for Ukraine's military, including
(Editing by Doina Chiacu and G Crosse)