Sen. Hoeven, Sen. Cramer and Rep. Armstrong urge swift, strong sanctions against Russia

The three Republicans said the U.S needs to do more to make Russia feel the economic impact of invading its neighboring country.

U.S. Capitol
U.S. Capitol

GRAND FORKS — North Dakota's three congressional delegates say sanctions against Russia — and further isolation against the country — must be the next steps after Vladimir Putin's military forces invaded Ukraine.

In Grand Forks Friday to speak at UND’s Energy and Environmental Research Center, Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and Rep. Kelly Armstrong, all Republicans, said the U.S needs to do more to make Russia feel the economic impact of invading its neighboring country.

Cramer is in favor of stronger sanctions, and called for banning Russia from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a financial messaging platform that links major global banks. The idea is to impact commerce in Russia, to the point where Putin will have to deal with domestic criticism.

Still, Cramer said squeezing the nation too hard – a sanction on oil, for instance – may not sit well with other nations, and may cause domestic oil prices to increase. Oil will likely be the last thing sanctioned in Russia, he said.


“We do not want to put any more fuel on the fire of inflation,” Cramer said.


North Dakota and other oil-producing states don’t have the capacity to keep up with Russia's production, at least overnight, Cramer said. So it’s necessary to take a long-term approach to work to displace Putin’s energy supply, he said.

Armstrong said the U.S. needs to make sure the sanctions already put in place are effective, all while boosting domestic oil production. Armstrong acknowledged that other nations may not want to see sanctions on oil, given that Russia may be one of their primary suppliers. So it’s necessary to work in a collaborative fashion with allies, he said.

Kelly Armstrong
Kelly Armstrong

“The sanctions that we put in place on Russia have to be in a way that we don't lose our allies in this fight,” Armstrong said.

He said the U.S. needs the President Joe Biden administration to remove barriers from production, such as shutting down proposed pipeline projects. Importantly, Armstrong said, the nation needs to stop “outsourcing our guilt” over oil production by shifting it to nations like Russia, a country he said does not produce the commodity as cleanly as it is produced in the U.S.

John Hoeven
John Hoeven

Like Cramer, Hoeven called for the tougher sanction of booting Russia from the SWIFT system. Doing so would “put the hurt” on the country in a much faster manner than existing sanctions. But Hoeven called for the U.S. to take a larger leadership role in the conflict by setting the pace of sanctioning Russian oil, and hopefully getting allied nations to do the same. That can be done by immediately increasing domestic production — to “open the spigot” he said.

To do that, the Biden administration needs to, among other actions, start issuing more permits to drill on federal land, he said.

“We need to fully sanction Putin,” Hoeven said. “We need full sanctions in place right now.”

More from Adam Kurtz
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Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

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