J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press
WASHINGTON, DC — The Russian invasion of Ukraine, no matter how remote, is unlikely to leave Americans unscathed, says U.S. Senator Mitt Romney.
Economic and other sanctions imposed on Russia come “with a degree of risk and recognition that they will impact us, potentially by driving up interest rates, slowing our economy , by causing inflation to be a little higher or a lot higher,” he said in a video call Wednesday with reporters in Utah.
Gasoline prices, he continued, are likely to rise.
At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin could hit back at the United States given the economic sanctions his country faces.
“People I speak to suggest that there is a potential for a very significant impact on the Russian economy (arising from the sanctions). If that turns out to be the case, why is it possible that Vladimir Putin might decide to retaliate,” Romney said, speaking from Washington, DC. “If he retaliates, he might decide to attack our system. financial institution in the way we have sanctioned its financial system.
Financial companies, he added, should protect and safeguard their data, be ready to deal with “cyberintrusions”.
Romney does not see US troops heading into Ukraine or US planes entering Ukrainian airspace, as such a move could spark a direct confrontation between US and Russian forces, leading to a world war. But if Russia tried to penetrate the countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, say Romania or Poland, the story would change.
“We will defend every square inch of NATO territory,” Romney said.
That said, Russia will likely face a lot of problems just by taking on Ukraine and the Ukrainians, he thinks.
“They’re going to have a hard time sticking with it if they’re lucky enough to capture Kiev,” the Republican senator said. “They may or may not do it. But if they do, Ukrainians won’t say, “OK, you won, we’ll shut up.” The battle will continue and it will be costly and bloody for Russia to try to hold on to its gains.
Al Drago, Pool via AP
He welcomed President Joe Biden’s remarks on the situation in Ukraine during his State of the Union address on Tuesday. “I was generally pleased with the discussion on Ukraine and Russia and the demonstration of our determination to support the Ukrainian people,” Romney said.
He was, however, disappointed with much of the rest of the president’s speech.
“Russia has invaded a neighbor, China is becoming the most powerful nation on the planet, and inflation is at a very high and unacceptable level in our country,” Romney said. “We have to rethink a lot of our policies in terms of those policies and the president just hasn’t done that.”
Romney offered harsh words toward those who interrupted Biden’s speech. U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado, for her part, cried out as he spoke about the deaths of U.S. military personnel resulting from exposure to toxins while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Washington. Post.
“Screaming accusations is just really disgusting and repulsive and I just feel like it was wrong,” Romney said. “Sometimes people from our own party do things that embarrass me. I was embarrassed last night because they did this. There was a response from all of us, Republicans and Democrats, with a low-key boo at that kind of comment.