WASHINGTON, D.C. (WPRI) — Russia sanctioned 398 members of Congress, including Rhode Island’s Rep. Jim Langevin and Massachusetts’s Rep. Jake Auchincloss.
Russia added these lawmakers to their “stop list” in response to similar sanctions the U.S. imposed on Russian lawmakers in March. Tensions between the U.S. and Russian President Vladimir Putin have increased after Russia’s assault on Ukraine began in February.
Russia didn’t delineate in their statement what the sanctions include, but both Langevin and Auchincloss told 12 News it likely means they are barred from entering the country and if they had any assets there, those would be frozen. Both Langevin and Auchincloss said they have no assets there.
Langevin told 12 News he considers being on the list a badge of honor and isn’t concerned with the effects.
“I think it’s a joke, quite frankly, that Vladimir Putin thinks it’s going to have any kind of an impact on me or anyone else sanctioned,” Langevin said.
Langevin responded to the sanction via Twitter Thursday morning.
“I’ll need to come up with new retirement plans, but it’s a small price to pay for standing up to Putin’s war crimes,” Langevin wrote.
Langevin said he suspects he’s on Russia’s list because he’s been a vocal critic of the country’s war crimes in Ukraine.
Auchincloss echoed Langevin’s sentiments, telling 12 News the focus must remain on aiding the Ukrainians.
“Whatever I did to anger the Russian president, good,” Auchincloss said. “This is not about me. This is about the Ukrainians fighting on the front lines of the free world and what we in Congress must do to support them and to isolate and undermine Russia.”
Auchincloss reiterated the need for a global oil blockade on Russia, which he has been calling for since March. He also said the sanctions reflect Putin lashing out as he becomes isolated from the world, but that the sanctions won’t affect his efforts to help Ukraine.
“Nothing could throw a wrench into our work to aid the Ukrainians,” Auchincloss said. “That is a singular mission. They have to win.”
In February, the U.S. expelled 12 Russian diplomats for “espionage.”
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they would add more names and “other retaliatory steps” to the list if the U.S. imposes more sanctions.