Senators Portman, Shaheen, Blumenthal, Cramer, Klobuchar, Murphy and Wicker meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
January 18, 2022
KIEV, UKRAINE – Yesterday, US Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D – CT), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as part of their bipartisan Congress (CODEL) delegation to Ukraine. During their meeting, the senators expressed their solidarity with Ukraine in the face of the escalation of Russian aggression, including the continued military build-up on the Ukraine-Russia border as well as the ongoing conflict. in the Donbass and the alleged annexation of Crimea.
The senators expressed deep concern over the buildup of Russian forces in and around Ukraine, and pledged to continue supporting Ukraine’s defense funding in the U.S. Senate. Discussions focused on other assistance needs of Ukraine to counter the Russian threat. The senators also discussed the need for Ukraine to continue its democratic reforms in order to position the country for NATO membership.
The senators discussed increased funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative which was recently passed by Congress as part of fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. The initiative has been extended through 2022 and its funding increased from $250 million to $300 million per year, with at least $75 million specifically earmarked for lethal assistance. The funds will be used to help train, equip and provide support to the Ukrainian government and armed forces in their efforts to defend their independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity against Russian aggression.
“This is a critical moment in Ukraine’s history and our delegation sent a message to Russia and the Ukrainian people that the United States stands with Ukraine in response to unwarranted Russian aggression and unprovoked.“, said Portman. “As a bipartisan delegation representing different parts of the country across the political spectrum, we have made it clear that the cause of freedom knows no political boundaries in the US Congress. We expressed our solidarity with the Ukrainian people in protecting their sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Our bipartisan delegation concluded a comprehensive series of meetings with President Zelenskyy and members of his administration, and throughout the day made it clear that the United States stands united across party lines in support of the Ukraine against Putin’s belligerence. said Shaheen. “I am proud to have joined Senator Portman in leading this group of lawmakers to reaffirm our nation’s resolve to stand with our democratic partners. I look forward to sharing the comments with our colleagues in the Senate so that we can quickly get to work on the way forward in Congress to respond to the political situation in Ukraine and Eastern Europe that preserves territorial integrity. Ukraine, Europe’s energy security and wider regional stability. Efforts are underway to improve our laws that will give the Biden administration tools to work with our allies to prepare sanctions for Putin amid his provocations and increase aid to Ukraine.
“Vladimir Putin has made the biggest mistake of his career by underestimating the courage with which the Ukrainian people will fight him if he invades. Vladimir Putin’s plan is to divide, demoralize and degrade democracy through hybrid cyber warfare. , military action and disinformation. But there will be consequences to this unprovoked aggression. America is bound to Ukraine by an unwavering commitment to freedom, independence and democracy. We will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine – tirelessly and without hesitation – as they fight this battle,” said Blumenthal.
“In the face of Russian aggression, it is critically important that our bipartisan delegation come to Kyiv and demonstrate Congress’s enduring support for Ukraine. We had an informative and productive trip. There is a strong unity in our respect and support for the Ukrainian people and their independence,” said Cramer.
“At a time of political division in Washington, we instead chose to go to Ukraine in unity. We stand with the brave people of Ukraine who have now lost 14,000 to Russia,” said Klobuchar. “The American administration – from the secretary of state to the president himself – is committed to helping this country. Our message is that there will be consequences if Vladimir Putin chooses to violate the sanctity of this democracy.
“Russia’s increasingly aggressive actions in and around Ukraine are deeply concerning, and it is critical that Putin understands the United States’ position toward the Ukrainian people and their right to decide their own to come up. During our meeting with President Zelensky, we expressed our unwavering bipartisan support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and the pursuit of democratic reforms and reaffirmed our commitment to ensuring that they have the defensive weaponry system necessary to protect against a threat of Russian invasion”, Murphy said.
“Ukraine is a vital partner of the United States that stands resolutely in the face of Vladimir Putin’s shameful and unlawful aggression,” he added. says the wicker. “I appreciated the opportunity to meet with President Zelenskyy to express our strong and united support for Ukraine. It is imperative that the United States remain strong in the face of Russian aggression and stand with our friends who fight for freedom.