WASHINGTON, July 24 –Congressional Ukrainian Caucus co-Chairs U.S. Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Sander Levin (D-MI) on Thursday introduced legislation to provide a clear and specific process to provide direct military and security assistance to the Government of Ukraine as it seeks to strengthen its democracy and prevent separatist violence and aggression within its borders.
H.R. 5190, the proposed Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014, would reinforce the strong relationship between the U.S. and Ukraine and take an important step toward helping Ukraine neutralize the military-support advantage that separatist rebels are using to target civilian and military aircraft in eastern Ukraine and foster violence and instability across that country. This legislation would authorize the President to work with the Government of Ukraine to assess that country’s military, intelligence, and security needs and provide adequate and necessary assistance to protect Ukrainian democracy and sovereignty.
“The Ukrainian people have made clear their desire to build a stronger democratic self-government and establish closer ties to the European Union and the west,” Gerlach said. “Unfortunately, as recent events have demonstrated, the Russian Federation will not honor Ukraine’s sovereignty and will continue meddle within Ukraine’s border until it has broken the spirit of the Ukrainian people. The evidence released by U.S. and Ukrainian intelligence authorities shows without a doubt that rebel separatists and hired thugs, armed with superior Russian technology and weapons, continue to foment havoc and instability. The bipartisan legislation we introduced today is another important step towards reaffirming the United States’ commitment to helping our Ukrainian allies develop as a fully democratic nation.”
Rep. Levin added: “With the overwhelming evidence that Russia is supplying the separatists with weapons, including the anti-aircraft missile that downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, we want to make it clear that the United States stands with the people of Ukraine. We will help the Ukrainian people defend themselves from Russian efforts to destabilize Ukraine.”
Rep. Kaptur commented: “I am proud to stand united with my caucus co-chairs Reps. Jim Gerlach and Sander Levin today as we introduce the “Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014”. While the tragic crashing of MH17 certainly has brought the necessary condemnation of the world community, Ukraine and her people have been suffering for months at the hands of Russian-backed separatists and Russian aggressors. It is time for the United States to provide reasonable security assistance to Ukraine. The bill we introduced today reaffirms the United States’ commitment to Ukraine and her people. Our bill reiterates the President’s authority to provide such assistance and advocates for the delivery of security and intelligence assistance to Ukraine. Our bill also importantly calls to designate Ukraine as a Major Non-Nato Ally, in order to temporarily provide vital resources and the security NATO offers to member states. The world has witnessed the destabilization of Ukraine for months and this most recent atrocity further illustrates Mr. Putin’s blatant refusal to use his influence to quell the instability and violence. The United States continues to stand with Ukraine and her people, who have every right to sovereignty, territorial integrity, and self-determination as they strive for greater liberty and a more democratic future.”
Leaders from Ukrainian community organizations also stood with the Caucus during Thursday’s press conference in Washington, D.C. to announce introduction of the legislation.
Michael Sawkiw, Director of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, added:
“The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the representative organization of over one million Americans of Ukrainian descent, is pleased to support Rep. Gerlach’s timely introduction of the “Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014,” which would provide needed security benefits to the country of Ukraine as it struggles to fend off Russian aggression. In this period of mourning and sorrow, the UCCA expresses its deepest condolences to the families and love ones of the innocent victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.
Given the severity of the situation, and the numerous crimes of the Russian-sponsored terrorists in Eastern Ukraine, the UCCA is grateful for the “Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014” and calls upon the United States to provide Ukraine with Major non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status and the necessary military assistance needed to end this crisis and bring peace back to the region. Furthermore, the UCCA urges the United States to impose harsher sectoral sanctions on Russia, and for President Obama, as leader of the democratic free world, to utilize all of his efforts to persuade the leadership of Europe to match U.S. resolve.”
Lada Pastushak, of the U.S./Ukraine Business Council, noted:
“The U.S.-Ukraine Business Council strongly supports this bi-partisan bill, introduced by Representatives Jim Gerlach, Marcy Kaptur and Sander Levin, Co-Chairs of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus. This legislation will enable our Government to streamline US efforts in assisting the people of Ukraine during these challenging times as they fight for the sovereignty and integrity of their homeland, democracy and the rule of law. Furthermore, it will have a significant positive impact on a desired prompt resolution of the conflict in the Eastern Ukraine, thus preventing further loss of lives and destruction, and leading to stabilization of Ukraine and Europe. Implementation of this bill will clearly demonstrate that the US is serious about its support of Ukraine, global peace and security, bona fide democratic values, strong transatlantic partnership, and mutually beneficial economic growth and business development.”
While the U.S. has already provided Ukraine with economic and diplomatic assistance, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Government of Ukraine needs direct security assistance to be able to defend its sovereignty against Russian subversion.
The bipartisan legislation is supported by the Ukrainian Federation of America, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, and the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council.