Bipartisan bill with unanimous support in Congress strengthens U.S. response to Russia, provides lethal military and non-military assistance for Ukraine
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement after President Obama signed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act into law.
“I am pleased the president signed our bill into law, and I hope he will do the hard work to convince the Europeans to adopt similar measures and stand with Ukraine against the ongoing threat of Russian aggression,” said Corker. “This legislation passed with the full support of Congress, so I would urge the president to use the tools provided to help restore Ukraine’s leverage in negotiations and deescalate this crisis instigated by Russia’s hostile actions.”
In a signing statement today, President Obama indicated he “does not intend to impose sanctions under this law” and would instead use the new authority only “if circumstances warranted.” Since the last round of U.S. sanctions on September 12, Russia has repeatedly violated its commitments under a proposed ceasefire by affirming an illegal rebel election in Eastern Ukraine and continuing to support separatist fighters with troops and heavy weapons. The Obama administration has yet to approve the Ukrainian government’s request for arms.
The Ukraine Freedom Support Act, coauthored by Corker and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), offers lethal military and non-military assistance for Ukraine and expands sanctions against Russia. It also provides Ukraine with energy, defense sector, and civil society assistance, and expands broadcasting programs to counter Russian propaganda in countries of the former Soviet Union.