U.S. troops may soon be on the front lines against Russia: Sen. Coons

U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) speaks to reporters during a break from a Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations joint briefing on the U.S. policy on Afghanistan, on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 2, 2022.

Al Drago | Reuters

MUNICH, Germany — The U.S. faces the prospect of direct combat with Russia if it fails to provide continued financial and military support for forces on the ground in Ukraine, U.S. Democratic Senator Chris Coons said Friday.

Calling for bipartisan support from the U.S. House of Representatives for a new $95 billion aid package which includes funds for Ukraine, Coons said that investment in Europe was the U.S.’s best defense against Moscow.

“In the next front against Russia, it will be Americans on the front lines,” Coons told CNBC’s Silvia Amaro at the Munich Security Conference.

“We are best off investing in the Ukrainians who are fighting bravely for their own freedom than allowing [Russian President Vladimir] Putin the opportunity to spread further chaos and violence across Europe.”

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday approved the new funding package, but it faces tough opposition from House lawmakers. Both houses of Congress need to approve the legislation before U.S. President Joe Biden can sign it into law.

Coons said he was “optimistic” the bill would be approved, albeit with “some back and forth.” Without doing so, Coons said that Putin was likely to target a NATO ally next.

“If we don’t stop Putin in Ukraine, he will next be attacking NATO allies of the United States,” he said.

Asked whether he agreed with recent assertions, including from Denmark’s defense minister, that such an attack could occur within the next three to five years, Coons concurred.

“That strikes me as reasonable, he said.

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