LITTLE ROCK — The sanctions announced by President Barack Obama in response to the threatened Russian annexation of Crimea are “a logical first step,” U.S. Sen Mark Pryor, D-Ark, said Monday during appearance in Little Rock.
A spokeswoman for the Republican challenger to Pryor’s re-election bid, U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, said Cotton considers the sanctions “an important first step.”
Pryor made his comments after an appearance Monday at a Little Rock fire station where he was honored for his support of updated location accuracy standards for wireless 911 calls.
The president announced sanctions, including travel bans and the freezing of personal assets in the U.S., against seven high-ranking Russian officials, though not against Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Treasury Department also announced sanctions against four Crimean officials.
Obama made the announcement a day after the Crimean region of Ukraine voted overwhelmingly to join Russia in a referendum that the U.S. has not recognized.
“I do think that there should be some consequence to Russia for doing this,” Pryor told the Arkansas News Bureau on Monday. “Obviously Russia has orchestrated this, and they are trying to flex their muscle once again over in eastern Europe.”
Pryor said he did not expect the U.S. response to end with the sanctions announced Monday.
“I think there’s going to be lots of pieces to this. I don’t think this is the end of, I think this is the beginning of it, and I think you’ll see this unfold over the next few days. The State Department and our military and the administration and the intelligence community, they’ve all been looking at this carefully over the last few weeks as this has been developing. To me it’s a logical first step,” he said.
In response to a request for comment Monday, Cotton spokeswoman Caroline Rabbitt said:
“The congressman feels the sanctions announced today are an important first step toward confronting Putin and his outlaw actions. But they must only be a starting point. In the coming weeks, the United States must continue to hold Putin and his cronies accountable.”