(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and Chair of the Europe and Regional Security Cooperation SFRC Subcommittee, issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I was pleased to see President Biden stand his ground today against Vladimir Putin and send a strong message that his administration will not turn a blind eye to Putin’s belligerence. The President’s resolve was clear: there will be consequences for bad actors and the United States will hold Russia accountable for actions that threaten our national security and global stability,” said Shaheen. “We cannot tolerate the Kremlin’s malice that’s targeted U.S. democratic institutions and other Western democracies, sowed discord throughout Europe and besieged U.S. partners in the region. This malevolence has increased over the years and more recently manifested in the unjust imprisonment of Alexei Navalny and other pro-democracy activists, and in Putin’s emboldening of the Lukashenka regime in Belarus. This malign behavior continues to pose a threat to our world order. I’m encouraged that President Biden’s meeting followed his consultation with our NATO allies, which is a clear demonstration of the United States’ commitment to strengthen the transatlantic alliance that was originally forged to counter Soviet influence and has endured for more than seventy years. I welcome the announcement of reinstatement of Ambassadors to Washington and Moscow, which is a constructive step to continue honest and frank dialogue on a range of critical issues. As we move forward together, it is imperative that we continue to work in good faith with our partners to defend U.S. interests, preserve our global security and make clear to our adversaries that there is no daylight between the United States and our partners on these matters.”
Senator Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its aggression and election interference. She was the first legislator to call for hearings into its meddling in the 2016 elections. 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. Senator Shaheen has been warning of the Kremlin’s continued interference and she herself has been the target of a hacking attempt.
Senator Shaheen recently returned from Eastern Europe after leading a bipartisan delegation to discuss transatlantic relations, democratic reforms and countering increasing aggression from Russia. In Lithuania, Shaheen met with Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya to discuss the Lukashenka regime’s increasing human rights abuses against political opposition, and also visited Ukraine and Georgia to reaffirm U.S. commitment to these regional partners and promote democratic reforms. Earlier this week, Shaheen penned an op-ed in USA Today on why the West must come together to address the political situation in Belarus. Shaheen is co-chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group, which she re-established in 2018 with Senator Tillis (R-NC).