US senators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Senator Robert (Bob) Menendez (D-NJ) walks near the Senate subway as he departs the US Capitol in Washington, DC on September 30, 2021. (File photo by AFP)

A group of US senators has held an emergency meeting as tensions further escalate between Washington and Moscow over Ukraine.

The bipartisan group of senators met via Zoom on Monday to explore ways for tougher Russia sanctions amid rising tensions with Moscow.

The Hill reported the group, which included Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and ranking member James Risch (R-Idaho), discussed whether to slap fresh sanctions on Russia before a potential invasion of Ukraine.

The Senate members are out of town for a one-week break, despite the rapidly evolving crisis in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, family members of American government employees in Ukraine were ordered to evacuate by the US State Department on Sunday night.

The Department of Defense announced on Monday that it was mobilizing some 8,500 troops to potentially deploy to Eastern Europe.

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) have requested for their respective chambers to be briefed by the Biden administration on the Ukraine crisis and the escalation of tensions with Russia.

"The Foreign Affairs Committee under Chair Gregory Meeks is advancing legislation relating to Ukraine," Pelosi wrote, in a "Dear Colleague" letter last week, noting that the fresh anti-Russia legislation will be "comprehensive and authorizes robust sanctions on Russian government officials and financial institutions and transactions."

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