By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said on Thursday the United States should be doing more to hold Russia accountable for “aggressive acts.”
“We cannot expect (Russian President) Vladimir Putin and his corrupt associates to change their behavior in Syria, Ukraine or anywhere else until we prove we will hold them to account,” Representative Ed Royce said in his prepared opening statement for a committee hearing on U.S. sanctions policy.
President Donald Trump has been under pressure, including from his fellow Republicans, to push back harder against Russian meddling in U.S. elections, aggression in Ukraine and involvement in the civil war in Syria.
Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to strengthen election security, just eight weeks before the Nov. 6 congressional election, by slapping sanctions on foreign countries or people who try to interfere in U.S. votes.
Royce said he was also concerned that the U.S. “maximum pressure” policy over North Korea’s nuclear program was faltering.
North Korean leader “Kim (Jong Un) appears to be using talks, as he has time and again, to probe for weaknesses and buy time,” said Royce. “When our messages are confusing or contradictory, we shouldn’t be surprised when others, like Beijing, reportedly resume importing North Korean coal.”
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Bernadette Baum)