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Chairman Menendez Statement on Russian Annexation of Crimea and Seizure of Ukrainian Navy Headquarters

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding Russia’s annexation of Crimea and seizure of the Ukrainian Navy headquarters.

“President Vladimir Putin’s decision to annex Crimea following the illegitimate referendum there is a reckless and unacceptable act that contravenes all international norms and laws. It requires a swift response from the U.S., Europe, and our democratic allies around the world,” said Chairman Menendez. “Russia’s moves under Putin’s directives have now gone from bullying its neighbors to outright violence and aggression against an independent and sovereign Ukraine. In my role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I will work alongside President Obama and our international partners to oppose this illegal act and hold accountable those individuals responsible for these acts of aggression.” 

Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014 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.