During a recent visit to Shelbyville, U.S. Congressman John Shimkus answered a few questions on recent issues facing the nation.
On Russia's movement on the Ukraine:
Shimkus, calling on his knowledge of Eastern Europe, said he does not believe the sanctions Obama has imposed on Vladmir Putin and the Russian government will have much effect on Russia's advances on the Ukraine.
"There's not a lot we can do. We can impose economic sanction and tighten them down, I don't think Putin cares," Shimkus said.
Shimkus, whose family background is Lithuanian, served three years on the Czech-German border, did policy issues on the eastern European border, observed a stolen election in Belarus, and just came back from a presidential election in Georgia. He has studied the political front of Eastern Europe.
"I don't this the Ukraine wants our presence. I think they like our moral support. I think they want to look west. They want to sign this trade agreement with the European Union. We just have to be there for them," he said.
"We can can encourage the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to consider offering the Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova a membership action plan (MAP). This is just a guideline on how these countries need to transform their governments to be considered for NATO admission. They have to transform their military, their judiciary, their economy, they've got to be more transparent and open. It's a long process."
Shimkus said he was not surprised at the overwhelming vote in Crimea to return to Russia.
"We don't know how legitimate it (the vote) is. There's this Russian pride of going back to the Czarist regimes, the Soviet Union, and the overwhelming desire to rebuild their empire, which they feel is crumbling away from them. And Crimea is different from the eastern part of the Ukraine."