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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, February 09, 2017 11:03 am

Young wants Trump to get tough on Russia

Brian Francisco | The Journal Gazette

Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., is among eight Republican senators who has sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to get tough with Russia.

The letter asks Trump "to pursue a results-oriented, but tough-minded and principled policy toward the Russian Federation."

Trump has rankled members of both political parties for advocating for improved U.S.-Russian relations, expressing respect for Russian leader Vladimir Putin and dismissing allegations of Russian hacking in last year's U.S. presidential election.

Led by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., the senators' letter states that "while we should seek common ground with Russia in the areas of mutual interest, we must never pursue cooperation with Russia at the expense of our fundamental interests of defending our allies and promoting our values."

The senators cite among their concerns "continued Russian aggression in Ukraine"; Moscow's support for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad; Russian military operations in Syria "that have caused immense damage and human suffering"; and Russian cyber warfare, "including attempted interference in our democratic elections process."

"The United States must have a firm response to this belligerent behavior from Moscow," the senators said about Russia's cyber operations, "which should include diplomatic actions, economic consequences, as well as a strengthened military posture in Europe."

The letter was also signed by GOP Sens. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.