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Russia-Ukraine Conflict: What U.S. sanctions mean and what could come next | Dig In 2 It

Russia has been hard with sanctions after invading Ukraine. We dig into how those sanctions hurt Russia and what the U.S. could do if Russia doesn't back down.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Amid all the bickering in Washington D.C., most leaders agree on one thing; we need to strongly punish Russia for invading Ukraine. 

President Joe Biden condemned Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin for his actions during the State of the Union Tuesday night. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) spoke Wednesday about the U.S. response to Russian aggression. 

"We have to come together. This is not a time, when we have a threat like we have in Ukraine, to be partisan," Tillis said. 

"I agree completely with what [Biden] said in the first 10 minutes of his speech on Ukraine," Tillis continued.

Tillis is the co-chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group. He's even attended the NATO conference before, which makes him one of the leading Republican voices on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Sanctions from the U.S. and other countries have already hurt Russia's economy. It used to take 85 rubles, Russia's currency, to make a U.S. dollar. Now it takes 102.

Russia is also cut off from the SWIFT banking system. That means their citizens can't buy international products.

Moreover, Russia's stock market lost a third of its value in the past week.

During his State of the Union address, Biden hit Russia with more sanctions. He joined other countries in banning Russian air crafts from flying in U.S. airspace.

Tillis said the longer Russia's invasion on Ukraine lingers, the tougher U.S. sanctions should get. He said senators are working on a bipartisan bill to impose stronger punishments on Russia.

Tillis said he's worried about what Putin may do since Russia has not had as much success in Ukraine as he initially anticipated.

"The real question here is 'how stable is Putin,' and 'how he will react' to what I think are appropriate measures we are taking to hold him accountable," Tillis said. "They are a nuclear power, and I don't think he's a stable leader."

Putin ordered his troops on nuclear alert last weekend. U.S. security experts think it's just a move to make Ukraine back down. The White House said it does not make sense for Putin to use nuclear weapons.

"Russia and the United States have long agreed that nuclear use would have devastating consequences and have stated many times, including earlier this year, that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. 

Tillis also raised concerns about what a weak response to Russian aggression could cause. He said he thinks a country like China could invade another sovereign country if the world doesn't punish Russia strongly enough.

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