Shaheen, Portman, Durbin and Murphy Meet with Ambassador of Ukraine to the U.S., Ukrainian Members of Parliament

December 09, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) met with Oksana Markarova, Ambassador of Ukraine to the U.S., and Ukrainian Members of Parliament yesterday to discuss the recent uptick in Russian aggression towards Ukraine.

The group discussed pressing national security issues including Russia’s further escalation of troops at the Ukraine border and the need for the United States to send a clear message to Russian President Putin be providing more funding for lethal defensive weapons for Ukraine. This meeting with key members of the Ukrainian government came after classified briefings on the Russian buildup to Congress and a hearing on Russian policy where the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador Victoria Nuland expressed the United States’ policy to provide unwavering support for the sovereignty of Ukraine.

“There is bipartisan resolve in the Senate to stand by our Ukrainian partners amid Russia’s military escalation. I was glad to reaffirm that message with fellow lawmakers of the Senate Ukraine Caucus yesterday in a meeting with members of Ukraine’s parliament. The U.S. will not turn a blind eye to Putin's belligerence against our key partners, like Ukraine,” said Shaheen.

“I appreciated our visit with Ambassador Markarova and multiple members of Ukraine’s Parliament. In the face of a progressively more belligerent and revisionist Russia, Ukraine is a critical strategic security partner and they have become increasingly under threat by Russia over the past months,” said Portman. “The United States must do all it can to support Ukraine and make clear to Russia under no uncertain terms that there will be serious consequences if they were to invade Ukraine. I encourage the Administration to do everything possible to continue to provide Ukraine with the military capabilities it needs to defend itself as well as garnering international support to stand firm in the face of Russian aggression.”

“I will never forget walking the Maidan Square with the late Senator John McCain and seeing the memorials for those killed in protest for a more democratic and free Ukraine. That such a simple human aspiration is seen as a continued threat by President Putin shows his misreading of history. He should not doubt bipartisan resolve in the United States Senate to stand firm with the Ukrainian people against further military aggression,” said Durbin.

“As Putin increases the Russian military presence along the Ukrainian border, Congress should be crystal clear in reaffirming our bipartisan support for Kyiv. That’s exactly what we did this week when meeting with the Ukrainian delegation,” said Murphy.

Shaheen is a member of the Senate Ukraine Caucus. Last month, Shaheen 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. Shaheen participated in a closed-session briefing on Ukraine on Monday. Yesterday, Shaheen questioned Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, on U.S. policy toward Russia and participated in another closed-session briefing with the Senate Armed Services Committee on Ukraine.