The Cable

House Condemns Russia as Putin Tries to Rally His Countrymen

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution Thursday condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policy of “aggression” in Ukraine and other neighboring countries. The motion, which passed 411-10, also censures Russia for its actions in Georgia and Moldova, two other countries where Russian troops are present. It came as Putin tried bucking up his country ...

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The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution Thursday condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policy of “aggression” in Ukraine and other neighboring countries.

The motion, which passed 411-10, also censures Russia for its actions in Georgia and Moldova, two other countries where Russian troops are present. It came as Putin tried bucking up his country as the Russian economy, under the weight of Western sanctions and sinking energy prices, heads toward recession.

“The U.S., Europe, and our allies must aggressively keep the pressure on Mr. Putin to encourage him to change his behavior. Sadly, Mr. Putin will only respond to raw power and we must remain unified in our efforts,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), the resolution’s sponsor, said Thursday.

The resolution also urges the White House to provide military assistance amid calls to give weapons to Ukraine. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has long pushed the White House to arm Ukraine’s military and the compromise Defense authorization bill passed by the House Thursday includes a “sense of the Senate” urging the Pentagon to give Ukraine weapons. White House Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken and Defense officials said recently that arming Ukraine is an option.

The House condemnation came after Putin’s annual state-of-the-nation address Thursday in Moscow. With Russia’s economy headed toward recession, Putin urged Russians to stand firm, blaming the West and “speculators” for waging economic war.

“This year we faced trials that only a mature and united nation and a truly sovereign and strong state can withstand,” Putin said. “Russia has proved that it can protect its compatriots and defend truth and fairness.”

Putin also said he was confident unrest in Grozny, Chechnya, the Russian republic where Islamic extremists have clashed with Russian forces for years, could be contained. According to reports, 10 police officers and nine gunmen were killed there Thursday, the worst outbreak of violence since Putin crushed a Chechen insurgency early in his presidency.

Getty Images News / Sasha Mordovets 

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