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Katko on ABC News: It’s a Little Late to Start Talking Tough Against Putin

February 23, 2022

Katko on ABC News: It’s a Little Late to Start Talking Tough Against Putin

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, joined Linsey Davis on ABC News Live to discuss President Biden’s new sanctions aimed at Russia.

Click here to watch.


New Sanctions Aimed at Russia: “I think that the sanctions are definitely a step in the right direction. We were promised swift and severe sanctions and I just wonder whether these sanctions are indeed swift and severe. They seem to be limited to certain areas where Russia has gone into, but it doesn’t seem to be the far-reaching sanctions that we were hoping for. With someone like Putin, he’s a bad actor, he only understands strength. We need to project strength. It’s a step in the right direction. We definitely need to see more from Biden as well as his Western allies.”

Harsher Sanctions would have Deterred Russia: “I certainly think it would have made Putin think twice. I don’t think he really cares about the impact on his people. I agree with others who have commented that he’s concerned about his legacy at this point, and maybe reigniting the fervor for a Russian empire. That’s a very dangerous road he’s going down. The sooner we can nip this in the bud, the better. The only way we can nip this in the bud is with an awesome amount of strength.”

Biden Administration Trying to Throw Off Putin’s Playbook: “I applaud anything that the Administration is doing to move the ball forward with sanctions and projecting strength. But I do think that it’s a little bit late to start talking tough. Don’t forget, the last couple of days they promised swift and severe sanctions, that’s their words. We just haven’t seen that yet. We don’t have the unified stance. We see different sanction packages coming from the European Union than we do from the U.S. and from Germany. They’re all steps in the right direction, but I’d like to see a more unified front because in the end, the unified front is going to be necessary to stop his aggression and basically his imperialistic urges that he’s showing right now. It’s a very troubling time. For people back home who don’t think that this is important for them in America – it’s very important because we don’t want to go down a road where we start really worrying about whether or not we have to take military action to stop Russia’s aggression in other countries as well.”

Threat of Cyberattacks from Russia: “I think it’s highly likely. In the last year we’ve had major attacks from Russia and China – from the Chinese Government itself and from state-sponsored actors within Russia. We really haven’t done enough to disincentivize them from doing that going forward. Cyberattacks are the new wave of aggression and war. We already saw that with respect to Russia. Russia had major cyberattacks into Kiev in the area around Ukraine before they went in with troops. That’s modern warfare. I do think that we will see more attacks from Russia. It’s incumbent upon the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA) within Homeland Security which we pour a lot of time and effort into, to work with the private sector to make our systems as secure as possible to beat back these attacks.”

Potential Russian Cyberattacks Against the U.S.: “There’s always that danger. But at what point do you say enough is enough? They shut down whole industries last year and caused catastrophic damage in a number of instances and we didn’t do enough to deter it. We can’t just have them running rampant with cyberattacks. I think we need to find that balance. If they’re going to go after our critical infrastructure and we do nothing, I think that’s really a mistake. Now, do we need to declare war? No. I do think we need to let them know that we have cyber offensive capabilities and I think we need to utilize them – not to try and get on a war footing, but to try and deter them from doing that again in the future. When I was a prosecutor, the only thing bad guys understood was strength. If we don’t project strength, we’re not going to get Putin to think twice or the Russian people to think twice about what they’re doing here.”