Gerlach & Kaptur: U.S. must respond to growing Russian threat on Ukraine's doorstep, Renew calls for President Obama to send immediate American aid to fortify Ukrainian defenses
WASHINGTON - (August 8, 2014) - Congressional Ukrainian Caucus Co-Chairs Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) on Friday said that the United States cannot allow Russia to continue its military buildup along the Ukrainian border.
Gerlach, who for months has been advocating for a firm response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Putin’s support of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine that resulted in a Malaysian passenger jet being shot down, once again called on President Obama to authorize an immediate infusion of American military and security assistance to help Ukraine maintain its sovereignty as well as protect its military and its citizens.
NATO officials and media reports indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin has amassed 20,000 troops, more than 1,000 missiles and other military equipment along the eastern border of Ukraine. The buildup has prompted Ukrainian officials to brace for a major assault on the city of Donetsk, according to media reports.
"Vladimir Putin didn’t send 20,000 Russian troops to Ukraine’s doorstep to practice their marching," Gerlach said. "By annexing Crimea this spring and continuing to foment violence in eastern Ukraine, Putin has wedged his foot in Ukraine’s front door. It is time to help Ukraine slam that door shut. That’s why I am imploring President Obama to recognize the growing threat the escalating Russian aggression poses to the security and stability of Ukraine and the entire region. It’s time for the U.S. to provide Ukraine with the defensive muscle crucial to protecting its borders, its military and its citizens."
Rep. Kaptur added: “The world has witnessed the destabilization of Ukraine for months and this most recent military buildup along the Ukraine border further illustrates Mr. Putin’s true intentions. The United States has the capacity to provide excess defense supplies to non NATO nations like Ukraine that face overwhelming threats to their sovereignty. Russia is not an inert threat to the European continent and the world. She is a nuclear nation with vast capacity to destroy human life. Ukrainian forces are outnumbered and out supplied on every front. The Russian threat is serious and dangerous. One misstep could trigger a broader war whose edges no one can anticipate. Ukraine and her people have every right to sovereignty, territorial integrity, and self-determination as they strive for greater liberty and a more democratic future.”
Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and a candidate who sought the Democratic nomination for President in 2008, said during an interview on "The O'Reilly Factor" Thursday night that NATO should be unified in its response to the Russian threat.
Clark also backed sending material and support to the Ukraine military needs to match Russia's military might.
"They need night-vision goggles; they need intelligence (capabilities); they need flak jackets," Clark said. "It's time to get that stuff to them.”
Gerlach and his colleagues in the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus unveiled bipartisan legislation last month to provide a clear and specific process for sending direct, defensive military and security assistance to the Government of Ukraine as it seeks to strengthen its democracy and prevent separatist violence and aggression within its borders.
H.R. 5190, the proposed Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014, would reinforce the strong relationship between the U.S. and Ukraine and take an important step toward helping Ukraine neutralize the military-support advantage that separatist rebels are using to target civilian and military aircraft in eastern Ukraine and foster violence and instability across that country.
This legislation would authorize the President to work with the Government of Ukraine to assess that country’s military, intelligence, and security needs and provide adequate and necessary defensive assistance to protect Ukrainian democracy and sovereignty.
Kori Walter, District Director/Press Secretary (Gerlach)
610.376.7630 or 610.223.1767 (cell)
Steve Fought, Communications Director (Kaptur)