Ernst on Russian buildup on Ukraine border: ‘We must prepare for the worst’

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) on Sunday called on President Biden to take a tougher stance toward Russia amid its increased military presence along the Ukraine border, inciting concerns of an imminent invasion.

“It’s hard to know what Vladimir Putin is thinking and what his true intentions are, but we do see a very aggressive action on his part, amassing his troops on the Ukrainian border. So we must prepare for the worst, not knowing what those intentions are,” Ernst told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.

“I do think that President Biden needs to be very clear, and very strong and his message to Vladimir Putin,” Ernst added, saying she believes President Biden should tell Putin that he will not permit the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to be completed.

Earlier this year, Biden said he would not call for the pipeline to be blocked, saying that it would damage relationships with key European allies.

According to Ernst, there are many U.S. senators who are prepared to move against the pipeline.

“I certainly can’t speak for the House, Chris, but I do believe that there is a coalescence around these types of actions in the United States Senate. Democrats are concerned, Republicans are concerned and what we don’t want to do is allow President Putin to continue with the pipeline, especially as he is preparing, perhaps, to invade Ukraine,” said Ernst.

“So we do have to push back on that and I think that there is a large group of United States Senators that will push back on Vladimir Putin,” she added.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) appeared to echo some of Ernst’s sentiments while appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” though he expressed hope that the upcoming virtual meeting between Biden and Putin will be “fruitful.”

“It’s up to us in the Congress to make clear that we are going to be diplomatic, political and military partners with Ukraine. We are going to provide them with increased military systems so that they can defend themselves. And I hope that we take steps in Congress in the next week to make that clear,” said Murphy.