United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Senate Unanimously Passes Corker Legislation to Support Ukraine, Expand Sanctions Against Russia
Bipartisan bill strengthens U.S. response to Russia, provides lethal military and non-military assistance for Ukraine
Thursday, December 11, 2014
WASHINGTON – Following Senate passage today of his bill to provide lethal military and non-military assistance for Ukraine and expand sanctions against Russia, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said unanimous support for the legislation demonstrates “a firm commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty” in response to a continued Russian invasion. Since the last round of U.S. sanctions on September 12, Russia has repeatedly violated its commitments under a proposed ceasefire by affirming an illegal rebel election in Eastern Ukraine and continuing to support separatist fighters with troops and heavy weapons. The Obama administration has yet to approve the Ukrainian government’s request for arms. “The hesitant U.S. response to Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine threatens to escalate this conflict even further. Unanimous support for our bill demonstrates a firm commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty and to making sure Putin pays for his assault on freedom and security in Europe,” said Corker.
In addition to granting lethal military and non-military assistance and expanding sanctions against Russia, the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, coauthored by Corker and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), also would provide Ukraine with energy, defense sector, and civil society assistance, and expand broadcasting programs to counter Russian propaganda in countries of the former Soviet Union.
Moscow Slams New US Law on Lethal Aid to Ukraine as ‘Confrontational’
SCF, December 12, 2014
Moscow sharply criticized on Friday the adoption of a US Congress bill aimed at providing lethal and non-lethal aid to Ukraine and imposing additional sanctions against Russia.
“The Ukraine Freedom Support Act approved by both houses of the US Congress without debate and proper voting cannot cause anything but deep regret as it bears an openly confrontational nature,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.
The bill has yet to be passed by the US House of Representatives and signed by US President Barack Obama. The legislation comes three months after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s plea for weapons to fight independence supporters in the country’s East.
The bill also contains provisions that will expand sanctions against Russia.
In the statement, the Russian deputy foreign minister stressed that “global security challenges” required “a joint effort” from Russia and the United States, something that could not be achieved as long as Washington was trying to “turn back the clock” and undo all that had been done over the previous decades of bilateral cooperation.
“The US lawmakers, following the steps of the Barack Obama administration, are doing their utmost to destroy the carcass of cooperation [between the two countries],” Lukashevich said.
“It’s about time the US congressmen abandon illusions about the effectiveness of their sanctions campaign against Russia. We will not give in to blackmail, we will not forsake our national interests, and we will not allow any interference in our internal affairs,” the diplomat stressed.
In recent months, the United States and European Union have introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russia, targeting its banking, energy and defense sectors. The West says the measures are aimed at making Russia change its stance with regard to Ukraine, an ex-Soviet republic that has been gripped by an internal conflict since April.
Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, stressing that sanctions are counterproductive and threaten international stability.
- The ‘Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014‘ (Full Version)
- “US Congress Now Virtualy 100% All-In on Ukraine’s War Against Russia“, Eric Zuesse, Washinton Blog, December 12, 2014
- “On the Brink of War and Economic Collapse“, Paul Graig Roberts, December 12, 2014