Republicans Urged End of Sanctions on Russian Ammo Before Ukraine Invasion

Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene were among 30 GOP lawmakers who reached out to the Biden administration in a letter sent before Russia's invasion of Ukraine that urged the removal of U.S. sanctions on Russian ammunition.

The letter, dated September 3, 2021, was sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and requested that the sanctions on "ammunition imports from Russia" be removed because "wholesalers, retailers, small businesses, gun owners, and shooting sportsmen rely on ammunition imported from Russia." The letter said those groups are "rightfully concerned that this is an attempt at gun control."

The ammunition ban was one of the sanctions placed on the Putin regime for its alleged use of Novichok to poison Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in 2020, an act that deserved "effective sanctions," according to the letter.

However, the lawmakers explained their opposition specifically to the inclusion of ammunition in that sanction package, saying, "This ban will certainly be more punitive to American citizens than to Russia. Already, there is an ammunition shortage in our country that is driving up prices for consumers."

According to USA Today, the ban on the importation of Russian ammunition went into effect on September 7, 2021, and was announced by the Biden administration in August of last year.

The letter, also signed by Representatives Lauren Boebert, Elise Stefanik and Andy Biggs, stated that the amount of firearms and ammunition imported from Russia makes up "less than 1% of Russia's total exports" to the U.S.

Sen. Ted Cruz signed a Sept. letter
Senator Ted Cruz was one of 30 Republicans who signed a letter asking for the removal of sanctions on the importation of Russian ammunition. Above, Cruz is pictured at an event in Harleysville, Pennsylvania, for Senate candidate Dave McCormick on May 12. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The letter has received renewed attention in connection to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which has led to many countries imposing extensive sanctions on the Kremlin.

Despite those moves, the fighting in Ukraine has continued, with Russia experiencing a number of setbacks since the start of the invasion in late February. Reports earlier in the week indicated that Russia has experienced a higher number of troop casualties in three months than the Soviet Union experienced during a nine-year period of fighting in Afghanistan.

Also, it was reported Thursday that Igor Girkin, a former Russian military leader, stated that the country's invasion of Ukraine has "completely failed."

Girkin said that the war in Ukraine is "not at all what the Kremlin planned starting the operation three months ago. It's absolutely not at all, and now for us, for all, for the whole Russian Federation, for the Russian people and even for the Kremlin celestials, there is an acute question of what to do next."

Newsweek reached out Cruz, Stefanik, Greene, Biggs and Boebert for comment.