As Threat of Russian Invasion of Ukraine Looms, Shaheen Co-Leads Introduction of the Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act of 2022
Democrats Propose Comprehensive Sanctions Package to Deter Russia
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, joined Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in leading a group of Democratic lawmakers to introduce the Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act of 2022, critical legislation to impose steep costs in the event of a renewed Kremlin invasion of Ukraine. As the Kremlin continues to engage in an unjustified military build-up along Ukraine’s border, the proposal by Senate Democrats to deter a military escalation sends a clear message that the United States is prepared to impose devastating consequences for Putin and the Russian economy if he goes down the path of re-invading Ukraine.
Joining Menendez and Shaheen in introducing the legislation were Senator Hassan (D-NH), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tom Carper (D-DE), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mark Warner (D-VA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO).
The Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act of 2022 would impose crippling sanctions on the Russian banking sector and senior military and government officials if President Putin escalates hostile action in or against Ukraine. The bill would also prohibit transactions on Russia’s primary and secondary sovereign debt and authorize sanctions on Russia’s extractive industries as well as on providers of specialized financial messaging services (e.g., SWIFT). To help meet urgent defense needs, the legislation calls upon the Departments of Defense and State to expedite transfer of defense articles to bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities and authorizes $500 million in supplemental emergency security assistance to Ukraine in the event of a re-invasion by Russia. Lastly, the bill also expands U.S. efforts to counter Kremlin disinformation and strengthen ties with key regional partners facing Kremlin aggression.
“We need legislation that addresses the political situation we face today in response to increasing Russian aggression – not last year or two years ago. The dynamics changed and so must our strategy. That is what this bill would do,” said Senator Shaheen. “There is no question that there is a bipartisan determination in the United States to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from becoming operational and used as a weapon by Putin against our European allies. This legislation upholds that resolve without undermining the diplomatic progress being made. Moreover, it would empower the administration with real teeth to inflict punitive damage against the Kremlin, enhance regional partnerships and bolster military aid for Ukraine to best defend itself. Putin’s escalatory behavior against Ukraine and other American partners in Eastern Europe demands that we evolve our response – we cannot use yesterday’s plans for crises we face today.”
"We need to be clear-eyed about the threat Russia poses and this bill takes meaningful steps to counter Russian aggression and stand with our partners in Eastern Europe. As we continue to see tensions rise on the Ukrainian-Russian border, the U.S. must make sure that Ukraine can defend itself and that we stand against any threat of invasion by Russia,” said Senator Hassan.
Find a copy of the bill text HERE.
The Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act
Mandatory and Additional Sanctions in the Event of Renewed Invasion: If an affirmative determination made by the President that Russia has engaged in a renewed invasion or escalation of hostilities, the Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act triggers a cascade of mandatory sanctions on Russia’s political and military leadership, financial institutions, extractive industries, and Nord Stream 2, outlined below.
- Presidential Determination on Renewed Invasion or Escalation in Hostilities: Requires a Presidential determination as to whether the Russian government is engaged in or knowingly supporting a significant escalation in hostilities against Ukraine and whether the aim or effect of the escalation is to overthrow or dismantle the government of Ukraine, occupy Ukraine’s territory, or interfere with its territorial integrity.
- Mandatory Sanctions on Officials: Requires sanctions on list of officials including President Putin, the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Minister of Defense, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, and commanders of various branches of the armed forces, including the airborne and naval forces.
- Mandatory Sanctions on Financial Institutions: Requires the President to impose sanctions on three or more financial institutions from the following: Sberbank, VTB, Gazprombank, VEB.RF, The Russian Direct Investment Fund, Credit Bank of Moscow, Alfa Bank, Rosselkhozbank, FC Bank Otkritie, Promsvyazbank, Sovcombank, and Transkapitalbank.
- SWIFT: Authorizes sanctions on providers of specialized financial messaging services (e.g., SWIFT), and requires reporting on efforts to terminate services for sanctioned Russian financial institutions.
- Sovereign Debt: Prohibits transactions on primary and secondary Russian sovereign debt.
- Additional Sanctions: Requires the President to identify and sanction sectors and industries the President determines should be sanctioned in the interest of United States national security, including oil and gas extraction and production; coal extraction, mining, and production; and minerals extraction and processing.
- Nord Stream 2: Expresses the sense of Congress that Nord Stream 2 is a tool of malign influence of the Russian Federation, and that the United States should consider should consider all available and appropriate measures to prevent the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from becoming operational, and directs the administration to review its prior waiver of Nord Stream 2 in light of the Kremlin’s military buildup and aggression towards Ukraine.
- Waivers and Exceptions: Provides the President with a national security waiver and provides the standard exceptions for authorized intelligence activities, compliance with international obligations, and law enforcement activities.
Expediting Security Assistance to Ukraine
- Bolstering Ukraine’s Defenses: Directs State and DOD to develop a strategy to bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities and enhance the delivery of security assistance to Ukraine, including meeting Ukraine’s most critical needs and coordinating with allies in providing immediate assistance to Ukraine.
- Expediting Delivery of Defense Articles: Authorizes DOD and State to expedite procurement and delivery of defense articles and services for Ukraine, including through utilizing lease authority and the Special Defense Acquisition Fund.
- Supplemental Security Assistance: Authorizes $500 million in supplemental emergency security assistance to Ukraine in the event Russia re-invades for fiscal year 2022 and authorizes $3 million international military and education training for Ukraine. Also makes clear that the U.S. should continue to provide robust security assistance to Ukraine in the meantime.
- Report on Increased Security Assistance to Ukraine: Requires a report on the security assistance and provision of defense articles provided to Ukraine by the United States and allies since Russia’s military buildup.
Countering Kremlin Aggression against Ukraine and Eastern European Allies
- Combating Kremlin Disinformation: Directs State to use the Countering Russian Influence Fund to prioritize assisting Ukraine in combatting Russian disinformation.
- Expanded Support for RFE/RL: Directs Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to improve its reach to audiences on the periphery of Russia, authorizes the exploration of opening new bureaus to reach new audiences in the Eurasia region and encourages RFE/RL to evaluate where Russian information is most deeply pervasive in the Eurasia region.
- Baltic Security and Economic Enhancement Initiative: Creates a new initiative to deepen security and economic ties with the Baltic states, including promoting the Baltic states’ resiliency against hybrid warfare, increasing interoperability with NATO forces, bolstering support for the Baltic region’s physical and energy security needs, and mitigating Russian and Chinese economic coercion against Baltic states.
- European Security: Expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should work closely with NATO allies and the OSCE in any discussions on European security, and requires the Secretary of State to submit a strategy to Congress on future formats to discuss European security, including an assessment of whether Russia has sufficiently de-escalated tensions to merit such discussions.
- Report on Russian Intelligence Services Destabilizing Ukraine: Requires a report on the role of Russian intelligence and security services in undermining Ukrainian independence and engaging in destabilizing activity.
- Public Disclosure of Putin’s Assets and Financial Practices: Requires an accounting and disclosure on the net worth, assets, and financial practices of Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, and their family members, including a public disclosure of the unclassified details.
Senator Shaheen has long led efforts in the Senate to hold Russia accountable for its malign activity against the U.S. and our allies. Because of her role as a negotiator on Russia sanctions legislation known as “CAATSA” and her successful efforts to ban Kaspersky Lab software from operating on U.S. systems, Shaheen was sanctioned by the Kremlin in 2017. Shaheen co-authored Nord Stream 2-related legislation designed to halt construction of the pipeline in order to preserve Europe’s energy independence and prevent Vladimir Putin from spreading the Kremlin’s malign influence throughout the region. This bipartisan bill mandated targeted sanctions on vessels involved in installing Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline. It was signed into law in 2019 as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. Shaheen built on her work in the FY21 NDAA that became law by adding a provision that further clarifies those sanctions, which target companies working with the Russian vessels sent to complete the pipeline.
Senator Shaheen is also a member of the Senate Ukraine Caucus. In November, she led a bipartisan delegation to the Halifax International Security Forum, where she helped reaffirm the U.S.’ bipartisan commitment to the transatlantic alliance and European partners, including Ukraine. During the conference, Shaheen participated in a bilateral meeting with Ukrainian officials. In June, Shaheen led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, to underscore the United States’ commitment to Ukraine as it works to achieve its pro-democratic aspirations. Last month, Shaheen helped lead a bipartisan resolution expressing support for an independent and democratic Ukraine—one that is secure against further Russian military aggression. In December, Shaheen authored an op-ed in the Washington Post with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) on the bipartisan commitment in Congress to stand with Ukraine amid Russia’s provocations and aggression, an actionable items that the Biden administration can take to address the current situation.