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Chairman Menendez Returns from Brussels Following High-Level Meetings on Ukraine with European Leaders

Newark, NJ – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, returned from Brussels this afternoon following a series of high-level meetings on Ukraine with European leaders.

Menendez met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, and Estonian President Toomas Ilves, among other leaders.

At the Brussels Forum hosted by the German Marshall Fund, Menendez delivered a keynote address to the conference attended by European and North American political, business, academic, and thought leaders.

"The United States and European Union must  consider the use of economic sanctions that are strong and significant enough to force President Putin and the small group of elites that surround him to re-calculate and change Russia’s course of action," Chairman Menendez said during his speech. 

"While economic sanctions require sacrifices, history teaches us that the cost of inaction can be far greater. We need to act together – not simply because we want to do the right thing by Ukraine, but because we are at a dangerous moment in history and our actions will have global consequences," Menendez added.

Last week, Chairman Menendez was sanctioned by the Russian government, along with other senators and Obama administration officials.

Tomorrow afternoon, the senate will vote to proceed to Ukraine legislation authored by Chairman Menendez.

The Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014 passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month by a bipartisan vote of 14 to 3.

The legislation includes the following components:

  • It provides for loan guarantees for Ukraine, consistent with the $1 billion announced by the administration in recent days, and mirrors the just-passed House legislation.
  • It directs the Obama administration to assist the Ukrainian government to identify, secure and recover assets linked to acts of corruption by Viktor Yanukovych, members of his family, or other former or current Ukrainian government officials.
  • It authorizes $50 million for democracy, governance and civil society assistance and $100 million for enhanced security cooperation for Ukraine and other states in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • It provides for additional sanctions, complementing the president's recent executive order, against Ukrainians and Russians alike responsible for violence and serious human rights abuses against anti-government protesters and those responsible for undermining the peace, security, stability, sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine, including through acts of economic extortion.
  • It imposes sanctions on Russian officials or their associates complicit in or responsible for significant corruption in Ukraine to include asset freezes and visa revocations.
  • It includes needed reforms to the United States' participation in the International Monetary Fund, which would allow the United States to leverage significant support from the IMF for Ukraine today and for similar unforeseen crises in the future.