Shaheen, Durbin, Portman & Graham Meet with Ukrainian Prosecutor General

September 21, 2022

The Senators received an update on reports of war crimes committed by Russians

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, joined a group of Senators for a meeting with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin to receive an update on Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, and specifically on reports of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Russians. The meeting was hosted by Senate Majority Whip and Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus Dick Durbin (D-IL) and included Rob Portman (R-OH), Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

“There can be no equivocation: Vladimir Putin’s intentional shelling of schools, train stations, maternity hospitals and other heinous attacks targeting civilians must be met with the fiercest condemnation and action from the global community,” said Shaheen. “His war is to not only build a Russian empire, but to erase Ukrainian history, culture and identity. In our meeting today, I made clear to Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin that the U.S. stands firmly by Ukraine, not only as they defend their sovereign rights, but to fully investigate and hold accountable those culpable in crimes against humanity.”

“Perpetrators committing unspeakable war crimes, such as those unfolding before our very eyes in Ukraine, must be held to account,” said Durbin. “Today’s meeting was deeply upsetting when discussing the atrocities committed by Vladimir Putin, but as I mentioned to Prosecutor General Kostin, we remain steadfast in our commitment to Ukraine and the brave Ukrainian people. In Congress, we will keep pushing to pass critical legislation to ensure Putin pays the price. The world cannot tolerate this barbarity.”

“The United States stands with Ukraine and its efforts to hold Russia accountable for its heinous war crimes against the Ukrainian people. I enjoyed speaking with Prosecutor General Kostin today about ways that the United States can aid Ukraine in its efforts to investigate and prosecute cases of war crimes conducted by Russian soldiers in Ukraine,” said Portman. “I strongly encourage my colleagues to approve more funding for Ukraine. This will help Ukrainian prosecutors investigate more war crimes cases and secure justice for innocent victims, and it will help Ukrainian soldiers liberate their fellow citizens from future Russian atrocities.”

“We had a great meeting with the Ukrainian Prosecutor General,” said Graham. “In a bipartisan fashion, we reinforced our commitment to the Prosecutor General to provide resources and help document war crimes committed by Russia against the Ukrainian people. Accountability in this war is the best way to deter future conflicts. We stand firmly for justice in Ukraine.”

Also a member of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Senator Shaheen has led action in the Senate in support of Ukraine in response to Putin’s belligerence. Last month, Shaheen released a statement ahead of the anniversary of Ukraine’s independence and the six-month mark of Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine. In July, Senator Shaheen and Senator Romney introduced legislation that would require an interagency strategy toward the Black Sea region, which includes Ukraine. In March, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Shaheen that would ensure the U.S. undertakes coordinated efforts to collect and maintain evidence of war crimes and atrocities committed by Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine. In February, Shaheen led a successful bipartisan effort with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to pass a resolution that conveys a renewed and overwhelmingly bipartisan message from the U.S. Senate in fierce support of Ukraine. Earlier this year, Shaheen and Portman led a bipartisan delegation to Ukraine, where they met with President Zelenskyy and members of his administration. 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.   

Photos of the meeting are available here