Sen. Risch vows U.S. will use crippling sanctions if Putin continues to push into Ukraine

Risch, who the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, addressed the Idaho House and Idaho Senate on Wednesday 

By: - February 23, 2022 3:20 pm
U.S. Sen. Jim Risch,

U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, walks to the dais of the Idaho Senate on Feb. 23 at the Idaho State Capitol. (Kelcie Moseley-Morris/Idaho Capital Sun)

U.S. Sen Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said Wednesday there is a bipartisan commitment in Congress to use “crippling sanctions” if Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to push into Ukraine. 

Risch said the U.S. would respond to Putin “without firing a shot” or sending American soldiers to fight in Ukraine. 

Risch is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He made his remarks in speeches to the Idaho House of Representatives and the Idaho Senate on Wednesday at the Idaho State Capitol.


“Americans are not going to fight on the ground over there; there is not going to be any American boots on the ground in the Ukraine,” Risch said. “But we do have some tools in the toolbox that have been very successful for us, and those are the sanction tools.”

On Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden said Russia’s actions in eastern Ukraine represent “the beginning of a Russian invasion,” the Idaho Capital Sun and States Newsroom reported. Biden announced the first round of sanctions, vowing to go further if Russia goes further. 

Risch said the United States is not obligated to fight to defend Ukraine because Ukraine is not a member of NATO or the European Union.

“So they don’t have the NATO protection that we 30 countries have — Canada, the United States and then the European countries — where we came together and have a constitution, it‘s the NATO charter. It has Article 5, which says ‘an attack on one is an attack on all,’” Risch told members of the Idaho House. 

“We do not have the Article 5 obligation to defend the Ukraine. We’ve obviously sent them a lot of defensive weapons and will continue to do that,” he added.

On Tuesday, Biden also said the U.S. has no intention of fighting Russia. 

Risch evoked former President Ronald Reagan during his speeches and said the United States will stand up to Putin and the Russians without firing a shot. 

“Putin took a bite in 2014 and took the Crimea. He kind of thinks that he is going to get away with this the same way,” Risch said. “This is not the Crimea. These two regions he has now taken, the Donbass region, are going to cause him  a lot more troubles.”

“If he continues to go into the Ukraine, he’s going to have real problems on his hands financially, because we will use those crippling sanctions and that is a bipartisan agreement back there as to exactly what we do,” Risch added.

Risch and U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, both addressed the Idaho Legislature as part of the traditional annual reports delivered by the state’s congressional delegation.

Risch and Crapo are former members of the Idaho Senate, where they each held the top ranking leadership position of Senate president pro tem. 



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Clark Corbin
Clark Corbin

Clark Corbin has more than a decade of experience covering Idaho government and politics. He has covered every Idaho legislative session since 2011 gavel-to-gavel. Prior to joining the Idaho Capital Sun he reported for the Idaho Falls Post Register and Idaho Education News. His reporting in Idaho has helped uncover a multimillion-dollar investment scam and exposed inaccurate data that school districts submitted to the state.