WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has promised to introduce comprehensive legislation to strengthen sanctions against Russia.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) told a Center for Strategic and International Studies forum on transatlantic security Nov. 17 that he would press for new sanctions to punish Russia for its aggression towards Ukraine, in Syria, and alleged interference in U.S. elections.

“Congress needs to act regardless of who was going to be elected the next president,” Cardin said. “I will shortly be introducing comprehensive legislation to deal with these violations of international norms. It will respond to the cyber attack on America.”

Those measures will expand sector and individual sanctions on Russian officials supporting illegal actions, he added.

“We need to consider prohibiting Russian individuals from investing in U.S. and private debt,” he said. “We should target Russian oligarchs.”

Legislation Cardin plans to introduce will also include a “measured cyber response to shine a light on those responsible” for interfering with U.S. elections, Cardin said.

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“We must make it abundantly clear that there is a cost to attacking the United States, whether accomplished by a MiG or a mouse,” Cardin wrote in an editorial published by The Washington Post the same day as the speech.

U.S. Leadership Needed to Support Democracy in Europe, Senator Says

Cardin called on the U.S. government to provide leadership in supporting nascent democracies across Europe in the face of Russian actions.

Specifically, he urged Congress to approve Montenegro’s ascension to NATO.

“We know our European allies are threatened and we need work with them,” Cardin said. “We need to provide assistance to help build and strengthen democratic institutions.”

Concern over Russia’s active measures and foreign policy have peaked as of late. This is due in part to their perceived behavior during our presidential election. President-elect Trump has been criticized for appraising Vladimir Putin amid an election where Russia has been formally accused of meddling. Russia has been a traditional enemy of the United States and Mitt Romney predicted their resurgence during the 2012 Presidential election. Romney went as far to say Russia was our No.1 political foe. How Russia will be approached by the new government is an unknown. However, a new footing is necessary in light of Russia’s recent global aggressive behavior.

Featured image courtesy of Politico.