JERSEY CITY, NJ – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision on Monday to formally recognize the independence of Moscow-backed breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine:
“Vladimir Putin’s illegal recognition of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics is an act of unprovoked aggression and a brazen violation of international law. This illegal recognition is an attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty. To be clear, if any additional Russian troops or proxy forces cross into Donbas, the Biden administration and our European allies must not hesitate in imposing crushing sanctions. There must be tangible, far-reaching and substantial costs for Russia in response to this unjustified act.
“Despite repeated efforts to open the door to diplomacy, Vladimir Putin has chosen the path of conflict. Using Ukraine as a battleground to exert the Kremlin’s influence only deepens our resolve to stand with the Ukrainian people so they can finally live in peace, determine their own future, and live in freedom.”