Russia’s invasion of Ukraine merits the strongest possible military response and the toughest sanctions, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday, adding that the West should not be deterred by the threat of retaliation from Moscow.
Following her visit to Kyiv over the weekend, Ms. Pelosi held talks on Monday in Poland with President Andrzej Duda, a meeting aimed at deepening Washington’s partnership with a key NATO ally as the United States significantly escalates its involvement in Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces.
Ms. Pelosi said that the “strongest possible military response, the strongest sanctions” are necessary “to make the case that this is not tolerable.”
“We shouldn’t do anything less because of a threat from Russia,” she said. “They have already delivered on their threat that killed children and families, civilians and the rest.”
Russia’s war has placed Poland in a critical position, with an increasing number of American military personnel stationed there. Poland has also become a transit point for weapons and humanitarian aid into Ukraine, and the main destination for Ukrainian refugees.
The Polish government has also been a staunch advocate for harsher sanctions against Russia, including in the energy sector. On Monday, European Union energy ministers were meeting in Brussels to discuss further steps to limit Russian energy exports, including a gradual phaseout of Russian oil.
Russia’s state energy firm, Gazprom, cut off gas shipments to Poland and Bulgaria last week, causing prices for natural gas futures in Europe to jump and underscoring how difficult it is for many European countries, including Germany, to reduce their reliance on Russia’s energy sector.
After becoming the most senior American official to visit Kyiv since the war began, Ms. Pelosi on Sunday vowed to back Ukraine “until victory is won.” She will soon return to Washington, where members of Congress from both parties have called for swift approval of President Biden’s request for more artillery, antitank weapons and other hardware for Ukraine.
The Senate this week will likely take up Mr. Biden’s request for an additional $33 billion in military aid, putting the United States on pace to spend as much on helping Ukraine as it did each year on average on the war in Afghanistan.
Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the Senate would take up the aid package “as soon as we get back to the Senate tomorrow. And I think we need to push it very, very quickly.”
Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas, said on ABC’s “This Week” that “time is of the essence. The next two to three weeks are going to be very pivotal and very decisive in this war.”
Ms. Pelosi said she also discussed with the U.S. ambassador to Warsaw, Mark Brzezinski, the possible enlargement of NATO’s military presence in Poland as part of “an ongoing conversation about how we support global security.”
She reaffirmed “our nation’s pledge to continue supporting Poland’s humanitarian efforts” and hailed the country’s people for taking in more than three million refugees from Ukraine, more than any other nation, with most of them being hosted by individuals.