Caucus Leaders Back Push for Defensive Aid to Ukraine
Bipartisan resolution calls on White House to provide Ukraine with military assistance to defend its sovereignty, territorial integrity
WASHINGTON—Congressional Ukraine Caucus co-chairs Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Sander Levin (D-MI), and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) joined the House Monday in passing a bipartisan resolution, H.Res. 162, calling on President Obama to immediately provide arms and defensive aid to Ukraine.
“Last year, Congress and the administration united behind the bipartisan Ukraine Freedom Support Act in response to the hostilities in Ukraine. The legislation solidified American support for a free and democratic Ukraine, as well as authorized the president to provide the Ukrainian government with much needed financial and defensive aid. However, as Russian aggression continues unabated, the defensive aid we promised has failed to reach Ukraine,” said Fitzpatrick. “America cannot retreat from its promises to allies, such as Ukraine, which dismantled its Cold War-era nuclear armaments in favor of democracy and international participation. If we fail to respond to Russian aggression in Ukraine, the signal to Moscow and other nations will be clear: Anyone can act contrary to international law and democratic aspirations without fear of repercussions.”
“Now more than ever, the United States needs to stand with Ukraine by providing defensive weapons to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression and move past the current crisis,” said Levin. “We should provide defense provisions, such as anti-tank weapons, counter-artillery radars, and ammunition to counter Russia-backed separatists. In doing so, we show solidarity with the Ukrainian people who have demonstrated their willingness to do their part, and we make it more difficult for Russia to wage a proxy war against Ukraine while publicly denying it.”
“As leaders of the free world, the United States holds a solemn obligation to stare down tyranny and to advance liberty,” said Kaptur. “In 1993, with assurances from the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia, Ukraine signed the Budapest Memorandum and agreed to give up its nuclear weapons. The signatories pledged aid should Ukraine’s securityever be threatened. These promises mean something. International treaties mean something. We should make good on our word and provide the people and government of Ukraine with the support they need to defend themselves. It is good foreign policy and in the interest of the United States to help a free nation resist the territorial aggression of a long-standing oppressor. Ukraine is the ultimate example of young democracy and liberty in Eastern Europe. These values have endured throughout Ukraine’s troubled history and they exist with a renewed fervor today. As a beacon of freedom, the United States must stand in solidarity with democratic principles and institutions around the world. Ukraine’s potential is boundless—let us extend a hand in her hour of need.”
The resolution, introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), urges the President to fully exercise the authorities already provided by Congress to deliver Ukraine with lethal defensive weapon systems.
Congress has, on multiple occasions, advocated for military aid to enhance the ability of the people of Ukraine to defend their sovereign territory from the unprovoked and continuing aggression of the Russian Federation. Additionally, new Sec. of Defense Ashton Carter signaled his support for lethal aid during his confirmation hearing, saying, “We need to support the Ukrainians in defending themselves… I am inclined in the direction of providing them with arms, including… lethal arms.”
In February, Fitzpatrick, Levin and Kaptur marked the anniversary of Ukraine’s Maidan demonstrations with the introduction of a similar resolution calling for the United States to assist Ukrainewith economic, social and governmental reform efforts; urging President Obama to immediately act on approved financial and defensive military aid; and encouraging Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to continue anti-corruption efforts.