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Markey: Economic sanctions will hurt Russia over long term

Senator Ed Markey said Putin and “his buddies” must pay a huge price for Russia’s invasion of another country.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

US Senator Edward J. Markey supported stiff economic sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and said the impacts of those efforts will grow the longer they remain in place, according to a television news interview broadcast Sunday.

The Massachusetts Democrat, who spoke to WCVB-TV’s “On The Record” program, said the United States and its allies must make sure Russia pays a price for the invasion economically and financially — including President Vladimir Putin, the country’s oligarchs, and other elites.

As time passes and sanctions are increased, “there is going to be enormous pain which is inflicted on the Russian economy, and on those who are close to Putin,” Markey said.

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While sanctions may not have an immediate impact, Markey said, “as each day, week, month go by, there is going to be a huge toll that is imposed upon Russia, and it will be something that will not go away.”

The interview, which was pre-recorded and broadcast Sunday, came amid growing international outrage over the invasion, which Putin ordered on Thursday. The Ukrainian government has called on everyday citizens to take up arms and oppose the incursion, while protests against the attack have erupted in many other countries, including Russia.

The United States and its allies have imposed sweeping economic sanctions against Russia and Putin directly. President Biden has said he will not deploy US troops into Ukraine but has stationed forces in NATO countries in eastern Europe.

Markey, echoing previous remarks by Biden, said Putin’s goal is to reassemble the former Soviet Union. Markey said the United States and its allies must remain firm in the wake of the invasion.

Markey said Putin and “his buddies” must pay a huge price for Russia’s invasion of another country.

The restrictions imposed on Russia include limiting Russia’s Central Bank from accessing more than $600 billion in reserves; cutting key Russian banks from the network that connects financial institutions around the world; cutting Russian banks off from the US financial system; and limiting access to imports of computer technology.

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Russia and China have been strengthening ties, and there may be “some lean” toward China by Russia due to the sanctions, Markey said. But Russia can’t make up for the economic impact of sanctions by increasing business with China.

“For us, we have to make sure that we stand firm and that we continue to sanction Putin, that we ensure that they pay a huge price for undertaking this kind of effort,” Markey said. “And that we also make sure that they understand that if they attack a NATO country, that there is a huge price which they will pay.”

Russia relies on oil and gas exports as a large part of its economy, and Markey said Biden can help ease the immediate impact of sanctions on Americans by using the nation’s strategic oil reserves and taking steps to discourage price gouging.

Markey also paraphrased the late US Senator John McCain, who compared Russia to a gas station because of its reliance on fossil fuels during a 2014 CNN interview.

But Russia’s attack on Ukraine is a “wake-up call” to quickly adopt alternative sources of energy such as wind and solar, Markey said.

“This Green New Deal revolution is ultimately the answer to defunding this Russian military business model,” Markey said.

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Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.