Portman’s statement following a videoconference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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Members of the House and Senate Ukraine Caucus Express Solidarity with Ukraine


December 24, 2021

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Press Releases

CINCINNATI, OH — Following a videoconference today with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and more than 20 members of the House and Senate to discuss the security situation in Ukraine, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), co-chair of the Ukrainian Senate Caucus, issued the following statement:

“Today we had the opportunity to hear directly from President Zelensky on the ongoing Russian troop build-up along the Ukraine-Russia border and to express our strong solidarity with the people and the democratically elected government of Ukraine.During the call, President Zelenskyy spoke of the Russian threat to its borders, appreciation of US military aid, and strong opposition to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

“As Co-Chair of the Ukraine Caucus, I have worked closely with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to support Ukraine – diplomatically, militarily and economically. Today, as Russia positions more than 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, threatening the freedom and territorial sovereignty of our ally, we must support Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian army has made great strides in its increased competence and professionalism. It is a seasoned force that has benefited from four years of material support and training from the United States and which, if necessary, is ready to defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

“As we discussed on the call today, our commitment to supporting Ukraine was underscored recently when Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 which increased our support military through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative The initiative has been extended to 2022 and its funding increased from $250 million in fiscal year 2021 to $300 million. next year, with at least $75 million specifically earmarked for lethal assistance.The funds are being used to help train, equip and support Ukraine’s armed forces in their efforts to defend their independence, sovereignty and integrity. against Russian aggression. The United States must continue to increase the amount of defensive lethal military weapons it sends to Ukraine and adapt it to the threat it will face so that Ukraine can better defend themselves.

We also discussed the recent ceasefire brokered by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in the Donbass and the possibility of a diplomatic dialogue that could lead to improvements in the security situation in Ukraine. As the United States and Russia move closer to convening talks on Ukraine and other issues, President Zelensky stressed that any future discussion on Ukraine’s future must include Ukraine.

“I will continue to urge the Biden administration to immediately impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The certification of this pipeline is a serious threat to Ukraine because it gives Russia the ability to deliver natural gas to the Europe without transiting through Ukraine.In addition, Russia will use the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to demand geopolitical concessions from Europe, as it has already done with the government of Moldova and by refusing to alleviate the energy crisis current.

“We also talked about democratic reforms in Ukraine. In addition to our continued support for Ukraine, I am encouraged by the efforts of President Zelesnkyy and other Ukrainian leaders to continue to promote additional reforms to further position Ukraine for integration into the EU and NATO. We must compel Russia to respect its international commitments, including those which promise the territorial sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. President Putin’s demands for a broad dialogue to restore the security situation in Eastern Europe should not be recognized when they are formulated in the barrel of a gun. I strongly urge the Biden administration to begin increasing military assistance, including lethal assistance, to our allies. Russia must know that any offensive military action it takes against Europe will come at a high price.

“Seven years ago, in the Revolution of Dignity, Ukraine and its people stood against their Russian-backed rulers and turned to the West. They have chosen to stand by our side. Now the United States must be on their side.

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