Ben Voelkel (Johnson)
Chris Harris (Murphy)
Kevin Smith (Portman)
Emily Hampsten (Durbin)
Ryan Nickel (Shaheen)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Thursday unanimously approved a resolution condemning Russia’s recent attack on Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait and calling for the immediate release of all Ukrainian sailors. Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, introduced the resolution on Tuesday. The following cosponsors commented on the resolution’s passage:

“Vladimir Putin is testing the West, and he needs to know we will not stand for this sort of provocation. I am pleased the Senate spoke with one voice to reaffirm our support for the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian government and Ukraine’s territorial integrity and make it clear that Russia’s aggression cannot be tolerated,” Sen. Johnson said.

“Today, the Senate took action and sent a clear message to Putin that his government’s aggression against Ukraine in the Sea of Azov will not be tolerated. We strongly condemn any military action taken by Russia to unilaterally rewrite international rules,” said Sen. Murphy.

“The United States should stand firmly alongside Ukraine in the face of this most recent Russian aggression,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). “Russia’s unprovoked action against Ukraine is a violation of international law and it highlights the urgent need to bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend its sovereign borders. I’m pleased that this resolution acknowledges my amendment to the FY 2018 NDAA authorizing naval security assistance to Ukraine. As Sunday’s events showed, the Black Sea and Sea of Azov have become hotspots in this conflict and increased naval assistance as well as international condemnation is appropriate and necessary.”

“Through cyberattacks, propaganda, military intimidation, and outright invasion, Russia continues to attack Ukrainian sovereignty and international standards. By escalating the tension in the region, Russia’s campaign of aggression in Eastern Europe blazes on. Such blatantly hostile acts must be universally condemned. I’m proud to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle on this resolution reaffirming that the United States Senate stands arm and arm with our friends in Ukraine,” Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) said. “President Trump should forcefully tell Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit to stop continued meddling in American and western democracies and that the U.S. will not stand idly by while Russia bullies Ukraine in the Azov Sea.”

“This resolution reaffirms the U.S. Senate’s steadfast commitment to defending Ukraine and the transatlantic community against escalating Russian aggression,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). “The Kremlin’s latest assault wasn’t just an attack on Ukraine – it was a signal to the entire world that Russia’s assaults threaten our collective security and global stability. This behavior cannot go unanswered. I’ll continue to urge Congress, as well as our transatlantic allies, to prioritize response measures that hold the Kremlin accountable for its rogue actions. As Ukraine navigates this perilous time, I urge Ukrainian lawmakers to continue to maintain the higher ground they’ve always held in the battle against Russia’s aggression.”

Full text of the resolution can be found here.

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