Questions Obama administration’s commitment to Ukraine after inaction on defensive military assistance
WASHINGTON – During a hearing on the economic and political future of Ukraine, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged the U.S. to establish a long-term framework for supporting domestic reform and security in Ukraine. He questioned the Obama administration’s commitment to Ukraine after their hesitancy in providing greater defensive military assistance to help the country defend against Russian aggression.
“Ukrainians are wondering if the West will walk away. And candidly, given the inaction of this administration, I, too, am wondering if the West will walk away. We need to make sure that is not the case,” said Corker. “Here in Congress, we are working to authorize a long-term framework for Ukraine. But, given all that is happening, our executive branch also needs to act to set the right course and not posture.”
During questioning of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, Corker requested a briefing regarding U.S. sanctions to be lifted if Russia stops violating the Minsk ceasefire agreements.
“I hope that we are not sending signals to Russia that they can come into countries like this, destabilize countries like this, in many ways get their wishes relative to how Eastern Ukraine is going to be governed, and leave and have all sanctions relieved,” he said.
Following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, Corker coauthored two bills that became law to provide economic, military, and democracy assistance for Ukraine and to impose sanctions on Russia.
Today’s hearing also featured testimony from former U.S. diplomats with expertise in Eastern Europe.
For archived footage and full testimony, click here.