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Area federal officials worried about Russian involvement in Ukraine

MIDDLETOWN – With Russian intervention continuing to grow in Ukraine, there is concern among US officials in the Mid-Hudson Valley.

US Senator Charles Schumer (D, NY) called Russian President Putin “a bully” who must be stopped.

“We don’t have the military ability to stand up to him in that part of the world. He has a million-man army on their borders. NATO is far away,” Schumer said. “We do have strong economic leverage over him. He needs American and western banks and financial institutions, he needs our markets to sell his oil, and if the west were to say we are going to impose a boycott on you, Mr. Putin, if you invade the Ukraine, he would really think twice. I don’t think he would do it.”

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY18) said the US must use economic sanctions to convince Russia to back off.

“We should use the economic power that we have, which is significant, working with our European allies to isolate Russia,” Maloney said.  “I would like to see the sanctions be a little stiffer and a little tougher. I would like to see us create a very clear path for Ukraine into the European Union. I wouldn’t mind the administration talking about eventual NATO membership. You need to bring pressure to bear on the Russians and we can do that; we can make them hurt.”

Meanwhile, all eyes are on the situation in Ukraine and Russian involvement.