Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., has filed a bill to impose sanctions on Russia if it invades Ukraine. File Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez filed a bill Wednesday backed by 25 other Senate Democrats to sanction Russia if it invades Ukraine.
"Ultimately, the most effective sanction on Russia is a strong and unified Ukraine, and I look forward to working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues so that we can provide the people of Ukraine the type of support they need to confront the bully in Moscow," Menendez, D-N.J., said in a statement.
Menendez's bill comes as Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine's border.
The United States and NATO are diplomatically engaging with Russia this week in an effort to de-escalate tensions.
Republicans on Monday introduced a bill in the House to strengthen Ukraine's defenses while rejecting some Russian demands.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee said in a news release the bill would "ensure Ukraine is provided with the military and diplomatic support it needs in the face of Russia's destabilizing military buildup in and around its borders."
Both bills include sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline carrying natural gas to Europe.
"Diplomacy has little chance of success unless approached from a position of strength -- yet the Biden administration has been much too slow in sending additional military assistance to Ukraine and has capitulated on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline," U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said in the committee's release.
Menendez told the Washington Post his bill would send a clear message: Russian President Vladimir "Putin need not collapse his entire economy, nor does he need to sacrifice the lives of his own people in a futile attempt to rewrite the map of Europe."