- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Wednesday that a couple keys to ending the crisis in Ukraine is to freeze the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deep-pocketed pals and open up LNG exports to Europe.

Rep. Ed Royce, California Republican, said those moves, combined with a United Nations resolution supporting Ukrainian independence, could go a long way toward getting Russia to rethink its approach and diffusing the situation.

“The oligarchs around Putin have a tremendous amount of money in Western banks, and likewise the state-run banks in Russia,” Mr. Royce said on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.” “They are involved in a lot of money laundering and clearly under sanctions regime, with investigations by the Treasury Department or European governments, those assets could be frozen. Our hope is the demonstration of the fact that that could be done is enough to sort of make the Russians a little more rational in terms of their negotiations to wind this crisis down.”

Mr. Royce said that part of the United States’ long-term strategy for the region should also include the shipments of LNG exports to Europe, which depends on Russia for much of its energy supply.

“If they see that coming in the future, then they know they are not held hostage to the gas that flows from Russia,” he said.

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