U.S. Sens Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) were joined by 62 of their colleagues in introducing a resolution Thursday that calls for a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in response to Russia’s aggressive actions in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov. Sens. Johnson and Durbin previously introduced a similar resolution toward the end of the last Congress.
“It has been two months since Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews in international waters, and still neither the vessels nor the crews have been returned to Ukraine. The international community has largely moved on without an adequate response. This is exactly the wrong message to send to Vladimir Putin,” Sen. Johnson said. “Moscow’s action is testing the Western resolve and if we fail to respond with strength, more will follow. We must not let that happen.”
“Russia’s continued provocative military actions and revelations about its extensive cyber disinformation campaigns in the U.S. should be warnings to the rest of the world that Vladimir Putin has no intention of stopping his aggressive campaign against Western democracies or Ukraine,” said Sen. Durbin. “President Trump must work with key Western allies to stop this Russian assault on democracy and Ukrainian sovereignty. I am proud to support this resolution and urge my colleagues to reaffirm this message of deterring further aggression from the Russian Federation.”
“Ukraine is the front line of Vladimir Putin’s struggle against the free world. Just two months ago, Russia’s attack on Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait marked a dangerous escalation of that conflict. Yet to date, Russia has paid no price for its aggression. We must respond urgently and with the strength to prevent further aggression by providing additional lethal aid to Ukraine, especially to improve its maritime capabilities, and, working with our NATO allies, maintain and enhance our presence in the Black Sea. Ukraine has never asked Americans or Europeans to do their fighting for them; they have asked only that we give them the tools they need to defend themselves and their country. Ukrainians need and deserve our help,” said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Full text of the resolution can be found here.
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