GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — Representative Mike Gallagher believes the Biden administration needs to go beyond "sanctions and statements" in order to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin's military assault on Ukraine.
Gallagher, a Marine veteran who served for seven years of active duty including two tours in Afghanistan, says there is bipartisan support to go beyond economic sanctions to defend democracy in Ukraine.
"Thus far, the threat of sanctions alone have done nothing to deter Vladimir Putin, and so a lot of us are left asking what's going to change?" Gallagher said. "He's already committed himself to a comprehensive invasion of Ukraine. We should be punishing economically but that alone is not going to be enough."
Rep. Gallagher has urged President Biden to call Congress back into emergency session this weekend sooner than their planned return on Monday. News broke on Friday afternoon that the House would be briefed late Monday afternoon before the President's State of the Union on Tuesday.
"People on the ground in Ukraine, who are fighting for their lives in most cases, they're not asking us to sanction the Russians," Gallagher said. "They're not asking us for help. They're asking us for hard power. They're asking us for javelins, for stingers, for anti-tank mines. Thus far, the administration has not been willing to move with any urgency on that front."
On Thursday, President Biden directed 7,000 additional troops to Germany to support NATO efforts, but Representative Gallagher would like to see them closer to Ukraine.
"I like the idea of fortifying NATO, but we really need to be fortifying NATO's eastern front, particularly the Baltic states and Poland. One thing I would urge this administration to do is to deploy intermediate-range ground launch ballistic missile systems to the front line states of NATO, which would get Putin's attention."
If Putin is able to overtake Ukraine, Rep. Gallagher doesn't believe the fight ends there.
"I think if Putin gains effective control of all of Ukraine, and he may just do that, if we continue down the path of hoping for his restraint or just doing sanctions and statements to deter him, I think he will threaten the Baltic states in particular."