BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022:
“In the year since Putin’s second unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Russia has committed unspeakable atrocities, including genocide, and triggered economic and humanitarian crises in Europe and around the world. The United States and our allies have unified to support the Ukrainian people in the defense of their sovereignty, but more must be done.
“The sooner we give Ukraine the equipment it needs to defeat Russia, the sooner the war will end, the cheaper it will be, and the more lives will be saved. I will continue to do everything in my power to push the White House to move faster in providing critical support to the Ukrainians, while conducting robust oversight and encouraging our allies to carry their share of the burden. There can be no more delays – the president must back up his words with actions.
“I will also continue to push for the passage of my legislation to hold Russia accountable for its human rights abuses and to repurpose frozen Russian sovereign assets for Ukraine. The Ukrainian people have proven their resilience and determination to maintain their freedom. We must do all that we can to support them.”
Risch’s Ukraine Legislation
In the lead up to Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine, Risch led a majority of Senate Republicans in introducing the Never Yielding Europe’s Territory (NYET) Act, legislation to provide the critical support Ukraine needed to defend itself and deter Russian aggression. Risch also led several efforts to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Putin’s premier energy weapon against Ukraine and Europe.
In February 2022, SFRC passed a bipartisan resolution Risch cosponsored reaffirming support for Ukraine.
In July 2022, Risch introduced a bipartisan resolution recognizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine as a genocide. The resolution was passed by SFRC in December 2022. The resolution was reintroduced in February 2023.
Also in July, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution Risch cosponsored condemning the use of hunger as a weapon of war.
In August, 2022, and again in February 2023, Risch introduced the Securing Allies Food in Emergencies Act (SAFE ACT), legislation to enable the United States Agency for International development to more effectively respond to the global food security crisis exacerbated by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, thereby helping save more people in need, more quickly, and at less expense.
In October 2022, Risch introduced the Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs Act (REPO Act), legislation to provide additional assistance to Ukraine using assets confiscated from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and other sovereign assets of the Russian Federation, as an amendment to the FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Risch also cosponsored another bipartisan amendment to the FY2023 NDAA to empower U.S. authorities to seize high-priced assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s oligarchs, and to put the proceeds from the sale of those assets toward aid for the Ukrainian people. While neither amendment made it into the final package, Risch will continue to advocate for these efforts.
In December 2022, Risch supported the inclusion of the Ukraine Invasion War Crimes Deterrence and Accountability Act (Sec. 5948) in the FY2023 NDAA. This legislation will hold Putin accountable for war crimes and other atrocities committed during Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.
Risch’s Visit with Zelenskyy in Ukraine
In June 2022, Risch traveled to Ukraine to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and to witness Putin’s atrocities first-hand. While in Ukraine, Risch visited Kyiv, Irpin, and Hostomel.
Since Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine began, Risch has spearheaded efforts to ensure proper oversight of U.S. assistance sent to Ukraine. In July, he led a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressing support for oversight and accountability of U.S. military, economic, and political support to Ukraine. In December, Risch joined another letter to the Government Accountability Office asking for detailed information about the U.S. assistance provided in response to Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression administered by the State Department and USAID.
In February 2022, Risch warned the administration against weakening U.S. nuclear declaratory policy and urged the Biden Administration to commit to fully funding the current U.S. nuclear modernization plan in response to Putin’s nuclear exercises.
In March 2022, Risch urged the State Department and Department of Defense to make quick and decisive use of emergency funds provided by Congress to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces. He also encouraged the Biden Administration to accelerate the sale of tanks and other military equipment to Poland, and to develop and execute additional sales to strengthen the military capabilities of other NATO members.
Also in March, Risch demanded Russian companies be banned from U.S. capital markets, laid out a series of concrete steps NATO should take to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked war, and asked U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield to introduce a resolution at the UN to remove Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.
In April 2022, Risch encouraged the Biden Administration to establish an interagency and international strategy for the U.S. to help mitigate the looming food security crisis spurred by Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. He also joined Senate Intelligence Committee Republicans in urging the Biden Administration to share critical intelligence with the Ukrainians.
In July 2022, Risch joined a letter demanding accountability from USAID for failing to deliver more than $10 billion in humanitarian aid Congress sent to help starving nations due to Putin’s war against Ukraine.