(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, hosted key European Ambassadors to brief the Senate Democratic Caucus on Ukraine. The Senators and Ambassadors discussed transatlantic unity and additional actions Congress and the Administration can take in the coming days and weeks to help the Ukrainian people as they continue to fight for their freedom, areas for additional sanctions, humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, the urgent risk to Ukrainian nuclear plants, and managing the Russian threat to NATO members.
The Ambassadors of the EU, Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, the Netherlands, Finland, and the Deputy Ambassador of the United Kingdom attended. The Ambassador of France joined virtually. The meeting was attended by 30 Senators.
“As Putin wages war against Ukraine, strengthening the transatlantic alliance and unifying Europe hasn’t been this critical since World War II. Congress has an important role to play in this regard, in coordination with the White House and our allies, to ensure our diplomatic ties are unbreakable in response to the Kremlin’s destabilizing and violent behavior. That’s precisely why our meeting with European ambassadors this afternoon was so important. I thanked their governments and the European Union for levying such a coordinated and punitive set of measures in consequence of Russia’s actions. I also expressed my appreciation for how our allies are stepping up in historic ways to support Ukraine in defending itself and accommodating more than 2 million refugees fleeing to neighboring nations,” said Shaheen. “Our world is more globalized than ever before and we do not live in a silo; what happens in one part of the world affects us all, which is why the future of Ukraine carries both moral and national security imperatives for the U.S. and international community. We’ll continue to work together to provide the Ukrainian people with the tools they need to fight for their freedom, to safeguard our NATO allies on the frontlines and to punish Putin for his bloodthirsty, barbaric actions.”
“For the past two weeks, Russian mortars and missiles have been raining down on innocent families and children throughout Ukraine,” said Durbin. “The barbaric actions of Vladimir Putin have forced two million Ukrainians to flee their homes. President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people need support from the West and today’s meeting reaffirmed that commitment. We will continue to work with our European allies to further tighten the economic pressure on Putin, provide military and humanitarian aid, and much more.”
Shaheen has led action in the U.S. Senate in support of Ukraine in response to Vladimir Putin’s belligerence against Ukraine, which also threatens the stability and security of Eastern Europe and NATO allies. Last month, Shaheen led a successful bipartisan effort with Portman to pass a resolution that conveys a renewed and overwhelmingly bipartisan message from the U.S. Senate in fierce support of Ukraine. In January, Shaheen and Portman led a bipartisan delegation to Ukraine, where they met with President Zelenskyy and members of his administration.
Senator Shaheen has long led efforts in the Senate to hold Russia accountable for its malign activity against the U.S. and its 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. Before the Shaheen-Portman congressional delegation visit to Ukraine in January, Shaheen led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, last June.